One part of the BDPA legacy is our Student Information Technology & Scholarship (SITES) program. This is a program that enriches the educational opportunities for our students in an after-school program of technology training from the BDPA Washington DC chapter with a focus on low-and moderate-income communities.
We know that 80% of the U.S. jobs created in the next decade will require math and science skills. In fact, 21 of the top 25 paying jobs are in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The average salary of STEM employees is 70% higher than those in all other occupations. However, we are sad to report that our students aren’t developing needed skills. Just 34% of U.S. 8th graders were rated proficient or higher in a national math assessment. In international exams, U.S. high school students ranked 21st out of 30 industrialized nations in science and 25th in math. Only 43% of U.S. high school graduates were ready for college work in math and only 29% were ready in science.
Student interest is simply too low in STEM areas. 84% of middle school students say that would rather clean their room, eat their vegetables, go to the dentist or take out the garbage than learn math or science.
BDPA responds to these troubling statistics with our SITES program that teaches advanced computer science and community responsibility to students from historically disadvantaged communities BDPA established the Student Information Technology & Scholarship (SITES) program to teach advanced computer science and community responsibility to students from historically disadvantaged communities. An important component of our SITES program is the Youth Technology Camp (YTC). The YTC provides interactive, hands-on workshops, seminars, and activities for high school students seeking to gain valuable exposure in leading edge technology topics. BDPA recognizes that to close the gap of computer and technology literacy, minority youth must participate and compete in today’s digital economy. Otherwise, our youth run the risk of being obsolete in America’s workforce.
The SITES program is an intellectually challenging program that builds self-esteem through the mastery of applied computer science. We create a foundation for academic and career success. SITES trains our youth to use technology as a vehicle to learn skills and concepts beyond the technology itself. In essence it bridges the gap between long-term educational approach of the classroom and short-term skills experience of the workplace.
The SITES program was created to introduce underrepresented minority youth to the IT field. The program is open to 8th-12th grade students. The students are not required to have prior computer training to participate in the program. This event gives students the opportunity to network with young entrepreneurs, and other youths from around the country who are pursuing academic and professional futures in the computer technology industry. The SITES curriculum is developed and taught by volunteer professionals with computer science and IT backgrounds. YTC is held in conjunction with the annual National BDPA Technology Conference. The YTC is a three-day event held from 8:00am-5:00pm Wednesday thru Friday. On Friday, the camp will take an offsite tour to a high tech company or university to introduce the students to new skills that will empower them to take control of their future.
The camp's registration fee is $250.00 which includes:
- Attend the BDPA IT Showcase featuring high school and college students
- Breakfast and Lunch Daily
- Event Bag & Promotional Items
- Gain Exposure to Potential Employers
- Meet other outstanding High School Students from across the country
- Participate in Offsite Activity
- Participate in Technology Quiz Bowl and CIO Challenge
- Participate in three days of Leading Edge Seminars
The leading edge seminars at the YTC are designed to inspire career development in following areas:
- Academic Enhancement - such as College Selection and Scholarships, SAT/ACT Preparation, and Lifelong Learning Skills
- Emerging Technology - such as Wireless, Biometrics, Digital Imaging, Video Production, and Security
- Personal Development - such as Managing Money, Etiquette and Verbal - Presentation skills
- Professional Development - such as Internships, Information on Careers in IT, Youth Entrepreneurship, Networking Computers, Software Development, and Building a Computer
In summary, the purpose of the SITES program is to expose young people to the fields of computer science and IT; with the overall goal of increasing the understanding and accessibility of math and science technology in historically disenfranchised communities.
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