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First‐ever Tech Conference for HBCUs to Expand Access to Tech Careers

First‐ever Tech Conference for HBCUs to Expand Access to Tech Careers
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on August 31, 2021

HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) today announced an inaugural technology conference for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with support from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Intel and Microsoft. The virtual conference will promote learning, networking and lasting connections to inspire digital transformation and accelerate digital equity.1

COVID-19 reinforced the new reality that organizations must learn to pivot to a virtual environment in days, not years. For HBCUs, which are engines of social mobility for many Black and African Americans, forming the right partnerships to accelerate digital transformation is key to being successful in this new world. As part of HP’s ambition to become the world’s most sustainable and just technology company, it is stepping up to empower HBCUs to meet 21st century student needs through the HBCU Technology Conference.

“The diverse talent that HBCUs foster are integral to driving innovation not just in the tech industry but across all sectors. Diversity is a business imperative; when we attract and nurture people from diverse backgrounds and increase their representation in the workplace, we can strengthen the company’s long-term growth,” said Lesley Slaton Brown, chief diversity officer at HP Inc. “We look forward to building on our existing partnerships with HBCUs to raise the bar and put together this one-of-a-kind initiative that can help build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society where HBCU students have equal access to opportunity and their institutions are armed with the knowledge needed to unlock transformational growth."

HP has been partnering closely with HBCUs of different sizes and from various states to obtain their strategic guidance in order to create an inclusive and impactful experience for HBCU students, IT staff and faculty/administration. The conference has dedicated tracks for these groups because accelerating digital transformation requires a cultural shift among all higher education stakeholders. Five half-day virtual sessions will be held on September 14, 16, 22, 28, and 30. All HBCUs can attend for free.

“The HBCU Technology Conference will open and expand opportunities for teaching, learning, collaborating, mentoring and internships not only for our students, faculty and staff, but for all HBCUs,” said Kimberly Ballard-Washington, president of Savannah State University. “This event is a wonderful collaboration between HP and HBCUs, helping to prepare the students to have a career in various technology sectors and providing the digital transformation needed now and in the future.”

Preparing HBCU Students with Tech Skills of the Future

The conference’s student track has a Future of Work Academy to help students gain emerging tech skills (automation, machine learning, chatbot, etc.) and demonstrate how students with different academic backgrounds can build meaningful careers in tech. Students can participate in a ‘Bot A Thon’ during the conference and select finalists will have the opportunity to interview for internship positions at HP and Microsoft next year. Students can also access online learning programs such as HP LIFE and the Microsoft Learn and Future of Work Academy Cloud Skills Challenge to continue building their skills after the conference. These comprehensive and dynamic offerings focused on helping students build digital literacy are aligned with HP’s goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030.

A Committed Partner for Long-term Success

In 2017, HP joined the HBCU Business Deans Roundtable as a founding member. Since then, HP has partnered with HBCUs to launch the annual HP-HBCU Business Challenge. The challenge provides HBCU students with access to executive leaders, real-world business knowledge and, ultimately, career opportunities in tech. Going on its fifth year, this year’s theme is immersive technologies and students are asked to use virtual reality technology to create a new service or solution. Since the challenge started, more than 380 students across 46 HBCUs have participated, and select finalists later became interns or full-time employees at HP.

In addition to the HBCU Business Challenge, HP launched an innovative 3D printing learning pilot program at North Carolina A&T State University last year. To drive a more diverse pipeline in cybersecurity, HP partnered with Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) and presented the school with an endowment to establish the HP Cybersecurity Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded each year to a student pursuing a degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Cybersecurity. Earlier this year, HP joined the HBCU Partnership Challenge to further strengthen our relationships and programming with HBCUs. The Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus’ Partnership Challenge is an effort to promote greater engagement and support between private companies and HBCUs. HP’s growing investments in HBCUs demonstrate its commitment to reflect the diverse markets and customers that the company serves.

About HP

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our product and service portfolio of personal systems, printers and 3D printing solutions, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.
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