2006 Black Family Technology Awareness Week Seeks to Inspire the Innovator in All of Us
IBM and Career Communications Group Joins With the Walt Disney World(R) Resort for Global Initiative That Provides Black Families With Technology Access and Training.
ARMONK, NY - 01 Feb 2006: What do IBM master inventors, Disney Imagineers and actress Raven Symone have in common? They’ll be inspiring the innovative spirit in thousands of children around the world during the seventh annual Black Family Technology Awareness Week (BFTAW) February 12-18.
On February 9, more than 150 Central Florida students are joining the kickoff event for BFTAW. The event will be held at the IBM ThinkPlace exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. This event marks the launch of a week designed to provide Black families with technology access and training, and to promote the importance and value of technology in the educational and career preparation of Black youth.
In its continuing leadership role in closing the Digital Divide, IBM is once again sponsoring BFTAW in partnership with Career Communications Group. This year, it is also teaming up with the Walt Disney World Resort on the BFTAW kickoff celebration.
“We are expanding the awareness and reach of this international initiative by joining forces with the Walt Disney World Resort to encourage Black families across the globe to consider the ways technological innovation has transformed society,” said Dr. Colin Parris, vice president, Systems Assurance, IBM Systems and Technology Group and BFTAW co-chair. “We want to help ensure that more Black children are among the next generation of inventors, scientists and engineers.”
Students participating in the program will take part in hands-on technology games and activities at INNOVENTIONS and visit with IBM Master Inventors and Disney Imagineers, who will share how math, science and technology helped advance their careers. Later, with guest host Raven Symone, actress, recording artist and star of Disney’s hit television series, “That’s So Raven,” the children will collaborate with students in Toronto, Canada on the programming of a robot via web conference.
“As we talk about inspiring the innovative spirit within all of us, especially among children, I can’t think of any place better to host this event than INNOVENTIONS at Epcot. It’s a techno-friendly playground where guests of all ages can enjoy hands-on experiences that cover a diverse range of science and technology topics,” said Eugene Campbell, Director of Walt Disney World Company’s office of Minority Business Development. “We are very pleased to join with IBM in its efforts to cultivate the next generation of technology-savvy youth.”
Modest gains have been made in terms of Black computer and Internet usage. According to a 2004 study, A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age, released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce, computer usage by Blacks lags behind that of non-Hispanic Whites by 14%. Similarly, at 45.6%, Internet use by the Black community trails that of non-Hispanic Whites by nearly 20 percent. With science, engineering and technology-related jobs accounting for more than half of the 20 occupations projected by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics to grow the fastest between 2004-2014, providing technology access and training for the next generation is critical.
“The great thing about technology is that it provides information, education, opportunities and solutions for anyone who can use it,” said Tyrone Taborn, the founder of BFTAW and chairman of Career Communications Group. “Kids today would rather have a cell phone or MP3 player than a toy. Students who couldn’t afford to attend college are earning degrees online. Families separated by distance are bonding via digital photos, and people young and old, rich and poor are inventing, perfecting and improving upon what may become the next big idea.”
Last year, more than 75 organizations, including the presenting sponsors, hosted over 130 BFTAW activities on three continents.
This year, in addition to scores of events taking place in U.S. cities ranging from Raleigh-Durham, NC to Aurora, CO, BFTAW participants in Sao Paolo, Brazil will take part in an “Afro Tech Week,” February 13th to the 17th at the Legislative Assembly in Sao Paulo. Basic computer classes will be offered for young afro-descendents through initiatives such as KidSmart and other recreational activities. Similar events will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa and in Toronto, Canada.
An exhibit highlighting Famous Black Inventions is on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore now through the end of January to promote BFTAW. The exhibit is sponsored by Morgan State University’s School of Engineering, IBM and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture.
A gala awards celebration honoring the “100 Most Important Blacks in Technology” will also take place at Morgan State University on February 17 during the Black Engineer of the Year Awards conference. Dr. Parris and two other senior IBM executives, Dr. Sandra Johnson, Senior Technical Staff Member and Chief Technology Officer, Global Small and Medium Business, IBM Systems & Technology Group; and Lauren C. States, Vice President, Technical Sales and Customer Deployment, IBM Software Group; will serve as BFTAW co-chairs will attending the gala and other events where they will address issues critical to encouraging Blacks to participate more fully in the Digital Age.
To learn more about the 2006 Black Family Technology Awareness Week, visit www.blackfamilynet.net or call (410) 244-7101.
IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.
Career Communications Group, Inc. (CCG) is a minority-owned media services company, headquartered in Baltimore, MD. The company was founded 20 years ago to promote significant minority achievements in engineering, science and technology. For more information about CCG, visit www.ccgmag.com.
About Walt Disney World Company’s office of Minority Business Development
The Walt Disney World Company’s office of Minority Business Development (MBD) is dedicated to supporting the growth, development, expansion, and increased utilization of minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs). MBD works towards building solid partnerships with minority-based businesses, community leaders and professional organizations. The goal of MBD is to enhance the appeal of the Walt Disney World Resort product and organization for all Guests and Cast Members by advancing our reputation as the premiere vacation/conference destination.
About INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®
Located in the heart of Epcot®, INNOVENTIONS is a unique attraction filled with hands-on, interactive exhibits. Visitors from around the globe discover how science and technology can simplify and enhance their lives today and tomorrow. This 100,000 square foot interactive playground provides guests with the opportunity to explore and discover innovative products and technologies from some of the world’s finest companies and associations. From breakthroughs in farming and robotics to the latest in fire safety and plastics, INNOVENTIONS amazes guests as they experience how technological breakthroughs will change the way we live. For more information about INNOVENTIONS, contact: Stacia Wake, 407-560-1816 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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