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ALC Pilot Announcement - Feb 20 2013

ALC Pilot Announcement - Feb 20 2013

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Published by: Chris Rhoads on Mar 05, 2013
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07/13/2013

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Headline:Microsoft Research and The America21 Project Partnering to Put Urban Focus on STEM, TechnologyDescription:
On Feb. 20, Microsoft Research, in conjunction with The America21 Project, announced the three pilotcities for the Activate Local Communities Across America Initiative: Chicago; Portland, Ore.; andCambridge, Mass.
Credit:
Posted by Rob Knies
Post:
On Feb. 20, Microsoft Research,in conjunction with The America21 Project,announced the three pilot cities for the Activate Local Communities Across America Initiative (ALC): Chicago, Portland, Ore. andCambridge, Mass.The ALC, which grew out of a challenge last summer from the White House Office of Science andTechnology Policy and was featured Jan. 31 during the White House Tech Inclusion Summit,focuses on
making America’s cities vibrant, inclusive centers of urban innovation and entrepreneurship that can
connect talent from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students in diversecommunities to the economic opportunities of the 21st century.
“The nation's tech economy is thriving, and Chicago is leading the way—
we are seeing unprecedentedgrowth, from established international corporations to startups designed by our own residents
,” Mayor
Rahm Emanuel said.
In order to support this vital industry and open up doors for our children tosucceed in this dynamic sector, city governments must be nimble.
We established the city’s first
Technology Diversity Council because collaboration is key to creating opportunity for all in thetechnology economy, today and in the future. With new collaboration with Microsoft, we look forwardto what we can learn from other cities and to providing insights into our successes that can serve as aroad
map for years to come.”
 The pilot programs are leaders in forging public-private collaborations to encourage the growth of 
diverse opportunities in their cities’ technology sectors, and
the pilots are making strides in increasingaccess to STEM education opportunities to expand access to the technology economy in the future. Theywere selected for diversity of geography, population, and industry. The pilots will last for approximatelysix months, although their impact will be felt far longer. During the programs, questions of infrastructureand effective public-private partnerships will be addressed, and by the time the pilots are complete,their combined experiences should provide a road map for any city in the country that wants toreplicate the work. America21 will then work with the pilot cities to extend their programs
and assistother cities interested in participating.
“America21 is proud to partner with Microsoft in the Activating Local Communities initiative,” said Chad
Womack, founder of Amerca21 and co-chair of the initiative, along with Rane Johnson-Stempson of  Microsoft Research Connections
.“We are ready to work with local stakeholders in both the public and
 
private sectors to ensure that the Activating Local Communities initiative yields sustainable results inboth the pilot cities and future innovation communities
across the country.”
 Johnson-Stempson, director of  Education and Scholarly Communication for Microsoft Research Connections, explains the motivation behind the ALC effort.
“One of the biggest challenges in growing the pipeline of students in computing, especially women and
under-represented minorities, is the lack of awareness of computing careers and the need for 1.4 millionnew techno
logy jobs by 2018,” she said. “Parents don’t know, students don’t know, and community
members in at-risk areas have no idea about
the opportunities available to them.”
 In part, the ALC initiative intends to provide direction to a stream of well-intentioned, STEM-focusedorganizations stepping on
each other’s
toes in their haste to make a difference.
“There are so many organizations, public and private, working hard to make an impact in STEM and
computer science and for under-represented groups
,”
Johnson-Ste
mpson said, “that program
s are beingduplicated and folks are going after the same funding and competing instead of collaborating.
 
“There are great ideas that can be replicated that are working, but each city is different, and what is
working well in one may not work well in another. It takes a coordinated effort with a local approach tobe successful. There is so much great work happening right now, and we want to enable it to happen
better, faster, and more efficiently.”
 Todd Park, U.S. chief technology officer and assistant to President Obama, was pleased to see the ALCproject gain momentum.
“In order to maintain our position as the global leader in innovation, it is crucial that this nation’s tech
industry reflect the full diversity of America itself,
” Park said. “That’s been the goal of the ‘tech inclusion’
events that the White House has sponsored, and it is hugely gratifying to see projects like the ALC
coming to fruition from that process.”
 Ultimately, Johnson-Stempson said, the ALC initiative benefits all Americans.
“My hope is that cities large, small, urban, or rural in America see technology as an opportunity to growtheir economic development,” Johnson
-
Stempson said, “and that the great innovations in every sector
have a technology component and amazing jobs for everyone.
Every child should get the opportunity to be a producer of the next technology innovation, not just aconsumer. Every citizen needs to have computer-science understanding and skills, and I hope that alarge percentage of students will want to get a computer-science degree and help build the future of 
America.”
 
Tags:
Microsoft Research, The America21 Project, Activate Local Communities Across America Initiative, ALC,pilot, Chicago, Portland, Cambridge, White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

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