Hayward West likes to say that he’ll work with anyone from the classroom to the boardroom.
“I wanna expose as many kids in our areas as we can to career opportunities in tech,” says West, president of the Philly chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates. The BDPA, founded in 1975 in Philadelphia, is a national organization with over 4000 members that aims to increase the diversity in technology careers through a mix of community service and career coaching.
“We’re one of the best kept secrets,” says West, “and I’m tying not to be a secret anymore.”
The Philadelphia BDPA and its 100 members work with Devry University to help local high school students compete in a national computer competition where students must complete tasks like building an entire web application in one day.
Just like Startup Corps and Techgirlz, BDPA is hoping that by educating high school students about technology careers it can help diversify the city’s technology workforce. By competing in competitions with BDPA volunteers students eventually can earn scholarships.
“Throughout the organization there are many success stories. One student is now a young entrepreneur that started at the computer competition,” says West.
As for the boardroom, the BDPA helps coach, mentor and speak to African-American IT professionals in all career levels to help facilitate a career path that leads to upper management.
West says BDPA has grown beyond its name, and is looking for volunteers and members of all races. To become a member visit the BDPA website. If you’d like to volunteer in local high schools, West says email him directly.
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