South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

For the second year in a row, South Florida will once again welcome the Mark Cuban AI Bootcamp for high schoolers

Read Time 6 Minutes

For the second year in a row, South Florida will once again welcome the Mark Cuban AI Bootcamp for high schoolers to our region in the Fall. BUT, this year will be even better!

South Florida Tech Hub was able to connect the Mark Cuban Foundation with the wonderful folks at Florida Power & Light and with offices in both Palm Beach and Miami, FPL immediately saw potential to bring this program to the entire region.  Having a great relationship with Miami Dade College, FPL reached out to the MDC team who quickly hopped on board to be the first Miami location. The program launched in October 2022 in both Miami and Palm Beach counties.

We are proud to announce that this year, not two, but four Tech Hub member organizations have committed to bringing this program to South Florida ensuring that students all across all three counties (Miami, Broward and Palm Beach) can apply!

The AI Bootcamp will be targeted at underserved high school students (9th -12th grade) especially those from underrepresented groups and will introduce these high school students to basic AI concepts and skills.

“The future global competitiveness of our country depends on having as many AI literate people as possible. I think there is an untapped wealth of knowledge and innovation in underserved communities,” stated Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and founder, Mark Cuban Foundation.

The Bootcamp sessions will be held over four consecutive Saturdays starting on Oct. 14 and ending on Nov. 4. The bootcamp will run each Saturday from 2-6 PM and if accepted, high school students must commit to attending all four sessions. Aimed to increase AI literacy and understanding in students from underserved communities, the high schools students don’t need any prior experience with computer science, programming, or robotics to apply and attend. Students interested should apply by Friday, Sept. 8. (Apply at bottom of article.)

With AI being a relevant topic on many news sources, students will learn what artificial intelligence is and is not, where they already interact with AI in their own lives, and the ethical implications of AI systems—including but not limited to TikTok recommendations, smart home assistants, facial recognition, and self-driving cars, to name a few. Participants will also learn how Large Language Models like ChatGPT are changing life as we know it by answering questions, telling original stories, and even writing computer code.   

Students will benefit from volunteer corporate mentor instructors who are knowledgeable about AI, ML and data science and able to help students quickly understand material normally taught at a collegiate level. As part of the 4-hour curriculum, students will work with open source tools each day to build their own AI applications related to Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing and Generative AI.  

In 2022, Grace Kurian, Executive Director of Information Technology-Nuclear at NextEra Energy Inc, led the launch of the AI Bootcamp in Palm Beach County. She told South Florida Tech Hub that months of planning, hundreds of hours, and over 22 volunteers brought the program to life. From entry-level developers to tech executives such as Grace and Michael Fowler, VP of IT and Business Unit CIO at FPL the students got to interact with tech professionals of all levels.

In it’s fifth year, the Mark Cuban AI Bootcamp is still a fairly new initiative that was founded in 2019 by the Mark Cuban Foundation. With just about 30 locations across the entire United States chosen for this program, we are so proud to have three of them right here in our backyard. The Mark Cuban Foundation has impacted 900+ students to date and has a goal to increase that number year over year.

FPL is pleased to be the host company for Mark Cuban’s AI Boot Camp (Palm Beach) for the second consecutive year. As a company, we believe success begins with people, and this program helps introduce STEM and computer science to students that grew up with limited technology exposure,” said Jason Price, Agile Leader – EP Technologies & Innovation @ NextEra Energy Inc. (FPL parent company). “We are excited to help inspire bright young talent right in our backyard about how technology can elevate the world around them.”

Normally taught at the collegiate level, students had the opportunity to interact in hands-on workshops about chatbots, AI, Machine learning and Natural Language processing – topics many had never encountered before.

FPL is excited to welcome this year’s students into the new PGA Office Center.

 

Office Depot is excited to support such a wonderful program this year. Exposing our students and future talent to new technologies will help the talent pool down the road by sparking their interest in AI and showcasing how it’s being used in the real world,” said Andy Parry, VP of Application Development & Support at Office Depot.

Being able to add Broward county to the programming this year and support students in the underserved community fits right in line with Office Depot’s giving efforts.

Office Depot will be sponsoring the Broward bootcamp and partnering with Nova Southeastern University’s  Levan Center of Innovation as the host venue.

“We believe that this program will help to cultivate the next generation of AI leaders, who will shape the future of technology and create a more equitable world,” said John Wensveen, Ph.D., NSU’s Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the Levan Center of Innovation.

 

Miami Dade College‘s Mark Cuban Foundation AI Bootcamp was a huge success. After only 4 weeks the high school students that attended created impressive projects around AI in Music, AI in Healthcare and AI in Safety and Security,” wrote Antonio Delgado, VP of Innovation and Technology Partnerships at Miami Dade College, in a social media post.

“Kudos to everyone involved to bring this opportunity for free to Miami students. They represent a diversity that it’s not widely seen in tech companies today. They are the next generation that will be creating meaningful AI products and applications.”

Antonio told South Florida Tech Hub that this year Miami-Dade College will be sponsoring the Miami bootcamp and hosting two camps in Miami, one at each of their AI Centers (North Campus and Downtown Wolfson) allowing them to impact even more student within the county.

The Mark Cuban Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit led by Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban. The AI Bootcamps Program at MCF seeks to inspire young people with emerging technology so that they can create more equitable futures for themselves and their communities. The Mark Cuban Foundation provides the Bootcamp’s curriculum materials, trains corporate volunteer mentors, and recruits and scores applications for local student selected to attend camp. In addition, the corporate sponsors, work to provide food, transportation, and access to laptops for students at no cost throughout the duration of Bootcamp.

Over the course of the four four-hour-long sessions, students will:

  • identify AI in the real world
  • build their own application
  • discuss AI ethics and bias in data
  • meet and learn from AI experts

The AI Bootcamp is open to students who:

  • live and attend high school (9th–12th grade) in Miami, Broward or Palm Beach county
  • have an interest in technology and machine learning
  • can attend in-person at one of the locations outlined below

Application deadline: Friday, September 8, 2023. For answers to some of your questions, please visit markcubanai.org/faq

👉🏽 Click here to apply today!

By Nikki Cabus

FPL Pledges nearly $1 Million to Support Black Students in Tech with Degree Completion

Read Time 3 Minutes

Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced an $800,000 investment in scholarships for black students to facilitate the completion of baccalaureate degrees at Miami Dade College (MDC) in the technology field. The funds from FPL will be used to cover tuition, fees, books and transportation costs for eligible black students facing a financial need over the next 4 years. This support will allow students to focus on their education, accelerating completion and entry into the tech workforce in South Florida.

FPL has had a long standing relationship with MDC. “We recognize the value in the contemporary programs, degrees and curriculum that they have developed. In some cases, we’ve partnered with them to ensure that the students are getting skills that will enable them to be competitive in technology careers,” said Michael Fowler, VP of IT and Business Unit CIO for FPL and Co-Chair of the South Florida Tech Hub Board of Directors. “I’ve personally been impressed with the nimbleness of the college to stay ahead of the technology curve.”

“It is extremely satisfying to have partners such as FPL who are raising the bar of good corporate citizenship, investing in our students and, in turn, in our community,” said MDC President Madeline Pumariega. “We must be intentional and strategic in our efforts to bridge the opportunity divide. I am especially grateful with this initiative because it is in line with and expands many things we are already doing with our groundbreaking Rising Black Scholars Program, our MOSAIC Initiative, Data Science 4 All and others.”

Last year, NextEra Energy was again named to Forbes magazine’s list of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity. “We highly value diversity of thought, style, technical and functional abilities, and leadership. Our company identified specific actions our company could take to make transformational impact in race equity,” said Grace Kurian, Senior Director, Information Technology- Nuclear. “Our focus for Black Girls Code (BGC) falls in three main areas: 1) BGC alumni engagement to strengthen the pipeline of BGC alumni, 2) upscaling BGC curriculum for students 7-17 years old interested in robotics, coding, artificial intelligence, & data analysis, and 3) scholarship endowment funds to ensure current & future BGC students have scholarships to fund for college.”

According to research, low-income working college students are less likely than their higher-income peers to get good grades or obtain bachelor’s degrees. These working learners are disproportionately black. These grant funds from FPL will potentially enable students who work full-time or part-time to work fewer hours or to stop working to concentrate on their studies without the burden of financial distractions.

“At FPL, we believe in breaking down barriers to opportunity for underserved communities, and we are always looking for ways to help empower our next generation of leaders,” said Pamela Rauch, Vice President of External Affairs and Economic Development for FPL. “FPL has long supported Miami Dade College’s technology programs and students, and we are honored to be able to expand opportunities for eligible black students to help them build an even stronger foundation for in demand technology jobs.”

As part of the Black Students in Tech grant, the School of Engineering and Technology (EnTec) lead by Manny Perez, Dean of Engineering, Technology and Design, will lead the recruitment, selection and retention of 30 students per academic year on a pathway to baccalaureate degree programs such as in Information Systems Technology, Cybersecurity, or Data Analytics. Eligible students will begin qualifying for the grants this summer term. For more information and to apply to the scholarship visit here.

MDC and FPL will host an event with students accepted into the program this coming August and ahead of the fall term to provide an update on progress and celebrate student achievement.

 

For the second year in a row, South Florida will once again welcome the Mark Cuban AI Bootcamp for high schoolers
FPL Pledges nearly $1 Million to Support Black Students in Tech with Degree Completion