BDPA was formed in the mid-1970s to address a challenge that lingers today: a lack of African-American representation in the IT industry.
Since the first chapter was launched in Philadelphia, BDPA has become a sophisticated national organization. The nonprofit aim is to identify and advance African-American leaders in IT.
“We provide programs, scholarships and services to help our communities win the future,” Wayne Hicks, BDPA Education and Technology Foundation executive director, tells us.
BDPA has 40 chapters across the country including:
The organization has an ambitious mission to reach from the classroom to the boardroom, and does just that with an impressive array of programs, services and scholarships.
In Cincinnati, where Hicks is chapter past-president, members participate in a wide range of outreach and activities. They work with students as young as elementary school-age through an after-school TECHie Club program that stoke the fires of tech curiosity.
“We want to interest young people in technology and math, and begin to give them some role models. We want them to be creators of tech instead of consumers,” Hicks says.
The Cincinnati Chapter also sponsors summer computing camps for teens, five of those teens will compete in the national BDPA High School Computer Competition in August. The event is a fundraiser for the BDPA foundation, which awards scholarships to college students seeking careers in IT.
“We walk them through database management, and we develop speaking and presentation skills. A big part of this is preparing young people with the skills they need not just to graduate from high school, but also to get an undergraduate degree,” Hicks explains.
For professionals, the national BDPA offers a Entrepreneur Advisory Group, an IT Insitute for those looking to advance their careers and an executive protege program for leaders looking to advance into top executive management roles.
“We work with 80 CIOs (across the U.S.) and it’s a one-year program designed for those who have executive potential,” Hicks tells us.