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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb 7, 2007    #017
Contact: Amanda Lepper
(816) 235-1592

UMKC Technology and Education Day addresses growing 'digital divide' between black community and white majority

According to research from the U.S. Department of Commerce, a digital divide persists, and even grows, between the black community and the white majority:

Only 45.8 percent of black children ages 3 to 17 have computers in their homes while more than 81 percent of non-Hispanic white and Asian-American children enjoy that advantage. In addition, only 24.7 percent of blacks in this age range have access to home internet, while more than 50 percent of whites do.

According to the national Black Family Technology Awareness Association, that divide threatens to perpetuate educational, financial and social inequality in American. The local chapter of the association will address the urgent issues of technological literacy Feb. 15 at Technology and Education Day on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.

The event, which is also supported by the National Society of Black Engineers and the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, is expected to draw more than 100 students from the area’s urban schools, including Southeast, Central, Northeast and Van Horn high schools, as well as the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts.

Participants will discuss ways in which to bridge the gap in technological opportunity between the black community and the U.S. mainstream. The students will be encouraged to do their part by pursuing education and careers in technological fields such as computer science, engineering and information technology.

The day’s activities begin at 9:45 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Royall Hall, 800 E. 52nd St., on the Volker Campus. UMKC officials and educators, including Chancellor Guy Bailey, will make formal presentations on the topic, followed by open discussion among participants. The students will then have the opportunity to get a hands-on look at the wide variety of computer science and engineering opportunities available on the UMKC campus, including the steel bridge, human-powered vehicle and robotics teams.

For more information about the Black Family Technology Awareness Association or the Technology and Education Day, go online to www.bridgethegap-kc.org. The event is funded in part by a UMKC School of Computing and Engineering grant from the National Science Foundation that’s aimed at increasing outreach efforts and recruitment and retention of minority and female students.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences and urban affairs.

This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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