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Upload: Our New Tech Industry Column

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JET, which recently went all digital after 60-plus years as an iconic print magazine, is highlighting Black entrepreneurs, executives and innovators in the technology space.  Meet our contributing writer, Emile Cambry Jr., and be sure to send us the names of those you believe deserve similar shine.  More details on how to submit below…

I’m excited to have the opportunity to write a weekly technology column, focused on highlighting the people and organizations that are creating a pipeline of opportunity in technology. As we know, the world is becoming increasingly digital, and the need to provide an ecosystem for our communities has never been more important.

I founded BLUE1647, a technology and entrepreneurship innovation center in Chicago, for this reason. We focus on four core areas: professional development through technology classes, workshops, and events; workforce development, 30+ hours a week of digital instruction per student; business acceleration, and; civic engagement programs using technology. We are located in the community because it’s important to have intentional space that provides an ecosystem for technology development and training within a co-working space, to emphasize collaboration.

From the Leveling the Playing Field Institute’s infographic, there will be 1.4 million new tech jobs by 2020, yet at the current rate, 70% of these jobs will go unfilled through the traditional college and university system. The median salary for the average computer and IT professional is more than two times the average black household in America. We also have large technology companies like Facebook, whose workforce is just 2% black, let alone the lack of blacks that are employed there as technology developers.

On a positive note, there are a tremendous number of organizations that are beginning to tackle this opportunity gap: from organizations that are more well-known such as San Francisco-based Black Girls Code, New York-based All Star Code, San Francisco-based Code2040, Oakland-based Qeyno Labs, Chicago-based Englewood Codes, and Oakland-based Hack the Hood.

This column will focus on the emerging organizations and people behind this movement, and also highlight the success stories in technology that are not often mentioned. We hope this column inspires more to provide pathways to opportunity and take a look at the emerging business models that make this possible.

If you have an organization that you feel should be covered, please do not hesitate to contact me via digitalpitches@ebony.com.  Make sure your subject line mentions Upload. I am really looking forward to this.

About Emile Cambry Jr.

Emile Cambry Jr. is the founder and CEO of BLUE1647, a technology and entrepreneurship incubator focused on professional development, workforce development, and business acceleration. Emile was recognized as Crains Chicago Tech 50 in 2014 and was appointed to the first-ever Technology Diversity Council for the City of Chicago and is the STEM Chairman to the 2nd District of Illinois.