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any of the more than 350 Community Technology Centers nationwide. Visit the CTC Network Website (www.ctcnet.org). The Digital Divide Network (www.digitaldividenetwork.org) has extensive listings of volunteer opportunities.
Prepare the next generation of black digerati. Opportunities abound in the high-tech sector. Yet, the nation’s top tech companies resemble the rest of corporate America. Minorities are moving laterally while other groups are moving up. Also, too few African American students are earning science and engineering degrees, says George Campbell Jr., president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).
Statistics from NACME’s “Math is Power” campaign show that African American students lose interest in math and science after the sixth grade. Ironically, Generation Y has grown up on technology. Today’s youth are familiar with interactive characters and 3D graphic video games. Never mind listening to CDs on A Sony Discman; we’re talking downloading music from the Net and listening to it on portable digital players.
You need to do whatever you can to help the children around you — including nieces, nephews, grand-children, as well as your own youngsters — to understand and appreciate the value of science and math. Trips to science museums should be a part of every family’s regular outings. Board games and software programs about black scientists and inventors should be in every home. Don’t forget to constantly upgrade your own skills so you can compete in an increasingly technological workforce.
Using current technology to educate the next generation must be a priority. This is a call to arms for African American churches, fraternities, sororities, and businesses
Build profitable e-COMMERCE COMPANIES. For would-be Internet moguls, private-equity markets are more pliable than ever before. The amount of venture capital investments ballooned to $21 billion in 1999, with Internet companies getting the biggest share. It is becoming less difficult for African American netpreneurs to get start-up capital thanks to a growing community of tech-focused African American venture capitalists.
How well have you integrated the Internet into your company’s operations? Not every e-business needs to be an e-commerce site. Your Website may serve as a calling card to improve brand awareness.
Poor planning, severe cost-cutting and un-realistic notions about how to conduct on-line business will contribute to the decline of many e-commerce sites, according to Karen Lake, founder and president of StrategyWeek.com. To ensure that your current or anticipated e-commerce business falls into that 20% that succeed, listen to your customers and respond quickly to their needs. Also, look beyond the U.S. and learn to accommodate an international customer base. Globalization will be even hotter tomorrow than it is today.
Join online communities. The World Wide Web is becoming a powerful medium for bringing about a greater sense of community online and off. The Net has become a meeting place for people to share resources and exchange ideas. Netizans are coming together in person to put their words into action — from forming book clubs to starting investment clubs.
Make no mistake about it, the Net has a soulful side, offering plenty of opportunities for you to network,