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Thursday 8 December 2022
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Summer Program to Help Close the Diversity Gap in Technology

By Sasha Smith
sashasmith@minorityreporer.net

Photo by Ralston Smith on Unsplash.

Good news for Rochester students. 

AT&T has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester (BGC), for a second year, to provide students from the Rochester City School District with 2 free unique opportunities, geared to helping students impacted by the digital divide.  

The Boys and Girls Club of Rochester will host a digital literacy summer program, “AT&T and BGC Digital Literacy 2.0”, and the region’s first video game development camp, the “AT&T Roc Jr. Game Development” program.

The AT&T and BGC Digital Literacy 2.0 is the region’s only digital literacy and education program. It is a weeklong program offered twice in August, servicing 20 students each session.  

The two month-long program began July 5 and is due to run until August 30. The deadline to apply for the program is July 26.

The AT&T Roc Jr. Game Development program was created to expand digital literacy skills, computer coding, and game development opportunities for Rochester-area students, especially those from underrepresented schools and communities and to encourage them to consider the technology industry, which has a pervasive diversity gap.   

Students will learn the game development process, using current game development technology to customize their own 2D platformer game level.  The program will be taught by professors Sten McKinzie and Ben Snyder from the School of Interactive Games and Media at RIT.  No previous technology experience is required.  

The program is designed to address equality issues in technology.  Students get hands-on experience, learning digital literacy skills like computer coding basics, drone design and operations, robotics building and programing, innovative engineering design, virtual reality fundamentals and aeronautics.  

Digital knowledge has become the new literacy and is the driver of all new global technology.  AT&T has made a $2 billion nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide and homework gap. The program will provide more than 50 underrepresented students ages 6-13 years old from across the Rochester region an opportunity to gain critical digital literacy and readiness skills through unique technology focused immersive experiences, while encouraging them to explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational and career paths.  It’s projected that there will be 3.5 million STEM jobs in the U.S. by 2025.

For more information or to register a child for the free program, parents should contact STEM Programming director Heather Floyd at the Boys and Girls of Rochester, 585-328-3077.