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    Engineers to raise technical savvy in African-Americans

    By JANEL STEPHENS
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published February 15, 2003

    The Tampa Bay alumni chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers will host a weeklong event to increase the knowledge of computer technology for the disadvantaged.

    Next week is Black Family Technology Awareness Week. The national campaign focuses on bridging the technology gap with African-Americans by introducing new technology and educating people on the importance of technology in everyday life.

    The campaign is launched in February for Black History Month with ongoing programs in various states throughout the year.

    This is the second year NSBE has held the event in the Tampa Bay area.

    Last year, about 1,500 participated in events during the week, with about 500 attending the mini conference on Saturday, said Contessa Dorsey, chair of NSBE public relations committee.

    "Our goal is to reach entire community," said event chairman Victor Cook. "There's a wealth of information out there for a number of individuals and they don't know what's there."

    On Monday from 6 to 9 p.m., Computer Mentors will hold an open house and computer sale at 2802 E Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Tampa. The base price for the computers is $100 and includes a monitor, hard drive, keyboard, mouse and operating system. In all, 75 computers were donated and refurbished by students in Computer Mentors' Youth Technology Entrepreneurs Program.

    On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., Guion S. "Guy" Bluford Jr., who in 1983 was the first African-American to fly in space, will speak to students at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

    The rest of the week will include a middle and high school oratorical competition, a series of community outreach workshops held in Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and Engineer of the Year Awards banquet.

    The conference will end on Feb. 22 with a free community technology conference at Middleton High School at 4801 N 22nd St. in Tampa.

    The fair will feature workshops to enhance computer skills.

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