Diversity efforts expanding in Minnesota technology

By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune

Ja’keh Clark, a software developer at Best Buy, is a key contributor to Minnesota’s emerging diversity efforts in technology.

Clark, 31, has an academic background in art and design and worked with juvenile offenders after college. Clark also liked technology and tinkering with software.

Today, Clark is a two-year digital engineer, integrating Internet of Things applications into Best Buy’s website and on mobile devices. A favorite software application Clark developed allows customers to check the website to determine how busy a store is before deciding to visit.

“I’m in the right place,” Clark said. “I really enjoy the work. And we’re involved in the People of Color Career Fair and Blacks in Technology. That’s important.

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Blacks In Technology Collaborates with AWS on Year End Training Blitz

One of the largest communities of Black technologists, with over 20 chapters globally, encourages members to up-skill and differentiate with AWS Certifications.

Cleves, Ohio, December 1, 2020 – The Blacks In Technology (BIT) Foundation announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide access to AWS Training & Certification digital courses and resources to support its members in achieving their AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification. The BIT AWS Certification Challenge is open to BIT members starting today through December 14, 2020. BIT has set a goal for 50 members to complete foundational cloud training and to earn AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner as a way to open up opportunities working in the cloud.  

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner validates cloud fluency and foundational AWS knowledge with an industry-recognized credential from AWS. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner can also help individuals advance in their careers. Certified IT professionals report better job effectiveness, according to the Global Knowledge, 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report, 52% say their expertise is more sought after within their organization, 45% have implemented efficiencies, and 43% report faster job performance. Additionally, organizations are looking for AWS Certified talent to help bolster their business. According to a study published by the Enterprise Strategy Group, 97% of organizations that employ AWS Certified staff say doing so puts their company in a better competitive position over the next three to five years.1

“We are excited to have AWS’s support in the BIT AWS Certification Challenge. The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is a great on-ramp to build skills and expertise in AWS for a wide variety of technical and non-technical roles. There is no better place for our Blacks in Technology members to start than with AWS,” says Dennis Schultz, Executive Director of the Blacks In Technology Foundation. “We believe our members will gain meaningful technical skills and expertise that not only grows their confidence, but also increases their career possibilities.”  

“We are pleased to work with the Blacks In Technology Foundation to help equip the diverse builders of today and tomorrow with the knowledge they need to realize their cloud goals,” said Maureen Lonergan, director, AWS Training and Certification, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “AWS Certification builds your credibility and confidence, and gives organizations a competitive edge. By investing in its members’ cloud skills and knowledge, BIT is propelling its members and the industry forward.”

AWS and BIT will host a launch event and virtual welcome session on November 30, 2020 for BIT members with guest panelists from the Amazon Black Employee Network (BEN). Additionally, AWS will provide training sessions, a discussion forum, and support resources throughout the BIT AWS Certification Challenge to aid in a successful completion. For more information, visit the Challenge landing page.

About the Blacks In Technology Foundation

The Blacks In Technology Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the largest global community of Black technologists with a combined membership and social media reach of over 50,000. Membership in Blacks In Technology is free. The Blacks In Technology (BIT) Foundation’s goal and mission is to “stomp the divide” between Black workers and the rest of the tech industry and to fundamentally influence and effect change. BIT intends to level the playing field through training, education, networking, and mentorship with the support of allies, partners, sponsors, and members.

Website: foundation.blacksintechnology.net
Email: bit-foundation@blacksintechnology.net

Contact:
Dennis Schultz, Executive Director
Blacks In Technology Foundation
dschultz_ny@blacksintechnology.net
908.938.1319

1:  ESG Research Insights Paper Commissioned by AWS, Understanding the Value of AWS Certifications to Organizations, October 2020