Tech Briefs

Hobsons HBCU Guide To Include Atlanta University Schools

ATLANTA — The four historically Black schools that make up the Atlanta University Center are the latest institutions to sign up for inclusion in Hobsons Publications “The Guide to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” The interactive CD-ROM will feature detailed information about Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman.
The recent signing of the four Atlanta University schools brings the total number of institutions that have signed up with Hobsons as of early May to 37.
Last year, Hobsons, a Cincinnati-based publisher of higher education information, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education partnered to produce the comprehensive guide. It provides detailed information and search criteria through which users can identify historically Black colleges and universities that best fit their educational goals. Students also can experience “virtual tours” of selected colleges and universities, gaining insight into campus life, academics and social activities.
“Since its free release to 5,000 U.S. high schools in early October, the guide and associated marketing efforts have produced over 129,000 inquiries from students seriously considering attending an HBCU,” says Craig Heldman, a Hobsons vice president.


Engineering Council, MCI WorldCom To Grow Minority Tech Pool

WASHINGTON — The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Inc. has teamed up with telecommunications giant MCI WorldCom to create programs to boost the number of minority graduates in critical technology fields. MCI WorldCom has pledged $10 million over the next 10 years to support expansion of the council’s “Math is Power” public service education campaign. 
Pledge funds also will support an engineering scholarship and internship program for minority students in high-tech areas, such as telecommunications, computer networking, information technology and computer engineering.
Under the pledge funds, the engineering council will develop and manage the information technology industry’s Digital Opportunity Initiative, a program developed at the request of the Clinton administration by the Information Technology Association of America.
The partnership was announced at a White House meeting of corporate leaders to discuss employment diversity issues.
“With a shortage of high-tech skilled workers in this country, and groups of Americans at risk of being left behind in the digital age, this initiative helps close the digital divide while making perfect business sense,” says Bernard J. Ebbers, MCI WorldCom president and CEO.
A nonprofit organization, the National Action Council manages the nation’s largest private source of scholarships for underrepresented minorities in engineering.

Getting Certified in a High Tech World

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Tek.Xam, a four-hour technology skills exam designed for students with liberal arts and other nontechnical degrees, seeks to provide graduates with a ticket to the new economy. For graduates who have analytical skills that high-tech employers need, the test creators believe it will provide some proof of expertise.
“It’s very clear there are millions of college students who are earning degrees in areas that don’t indicate technology skills — liberal arts, education and other nontech areas,” says Brian Regrut, executive director of Tek.Xam. 
In 1998, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges created the exam with significant input from high-tech Virginia-based companies.
Since 1998, some 67 private and public colleges and universities in 24 states have offered a pilot or formal version of the test, and about 1,700 students have taken it.  Schools see the test as a way to make their graduates more marketable in the workplace. 
“The education market usually doesn’t move at Internet speed,” Mark Warner, who is managing director of Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm here, told The New York Times. Warner is one of the developers of the exam. “We thought it would be an optional exam students would take to help them get a job. But there’s growing evidence from some schools that they want to use this for all students.”  



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