BDPA students make successful trip to Washington

October 8, 2015
bdpa students

Pictured (from left) are Jayla Childress, Asia Canada, Alvin Cherry, and Jeffrey Simons.

This year the Milwaukee Chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) took eight students to Washington, DC, to participate in the BDPA High School Computer Competition (HSCC). The eight students selected to go were Youth Technology Conference (YTC) participants Asia Canada, Jayla Childress, Jeffrey Simons, Gnanam Chokkalingam, and Kapil Chokkalingam; and HSCC participants Alvin Cherry, Vendah Jones, and Isaiah Jones, Jr.

The students studied from October to August at Washington High School of Information Technology, every Saturday that school was open. They received instruction on web design using HTML, CSS, and PHP, using the eclipse application environment. They built web applications, learned project management, and developed 21st century skills such as developing a resume, elevator speech, dressing for success, and other skills necessary to succeed. The training they are getting is valuable, as the U.S. Department of Labor projects that in the near future 1 out of every 2 technology jobs will be in Information Technology.

The skills they are learning are currently used by professionals earning $50,000 to $70,000 per year to start. The Milwaukee High School Computer Competition (HSCC) and YTC students this year are an eclectic collection of bright minds from schools in the Milwaukee area: Rufus King, Washington, Kradwell, Brookfield Elementary, Brown Deer, and more. They are learning web, programming, and database technology as well as 21st century business skills from a dedicated cadre of instructors/advisors. Like their students, the instructors come from a varied list of names in the Milwaukee business community: Rockwell Automation, Miller Coors, GE, Tech Mahindra, Jason Industries, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Milwaukee County among them. This is the second year of the competition. In the first year, the conference was held in Indianapolis, IN.

The team finished 8th in verbal tests, last in written, and about 15th place out of 22. This year it was in Washington, DC. The team finished the same in verbal, rose to 6th in written, and was poised to be in the top 10, but ran into difficulty in the project portion and dropped out of 10th place. Next year, the conference will be in Atlanta, GA. Look out, Atlanta!