Perficient is comprised of more than 4,500 colleagues worldwide. Individually and collectively, we are passionate about using our time and talent to give back to the communities where we live and work. We recently announced a new collaboration with the Mark Cuban Foundation, a personal foundation empowering communities and nonprofit organizations, to host a free Artificial Intelligence (AI) Bootcamp for high school students in the Dallas metro area.
I spoke with Bill Davis, vice president of marketing and communications, and Erin Moloney, general manager of Dallas operations, to learn more about the program and Perficient’s participation.
What an exciting announcement, Bill and Erin! Could you tell me more about the Mark Cuban Foundation’s AI Bootcamps and our work with the program?
Bill: We’re thrilled to work with the Mark Cuban Foundation on this important and influential program. Like them, Perficient is committed to advancing STEM education opportunities for underrepresented communities and supporting diversity in the technology industry. The AI Bootcamp program is a premiere resource that is closing the knowledge gap by empowering high school students with fundamental knowledge about AI concepts to increase AI literacy and understanding. Together, we’re training the next generation of AI leaders in Dallas.
At Perficient, we believe that diversity and inclusion are constant pursuits, and we recognize that the responsibility to help drive equity throughout the broader industry falls on us. We’re taking steps to educate and create employment opportunities within our communities. Our collaboration with the Mark Cuban Foundation is in-line with that mission, and our Bright Paths program is providing fully-paid, customized coding bootcamp and career placement opportunities to underrepresented constituencies.
Erin: We’re proud to join other technology leaders like Microsoft philanthropies, Walmart Global Tech, and Dell Ventures as leading supporters of AI Bootcamps across the country. STEM education is in high-demand throughout the job market, but especially in the technology industry. Introducing the foundational concepts of any technology at a formative age is a great way to springboard an interest into a successful future career in engineering, software development, technical architecture, and so many other fields. That’s the goal of the AI Bootcamp, and we are honored to collaborate with the Mark Cuban Foundation to host a free program for students in the Dallas area.
Read more: Perficient Launches Bright Paths Program to Drive STEM Education and Career Opportunities
Who should consider applying for the program, and what can they expect to learn by attending?
Bill: AI Bootcamps are designed with high school students in mind. The Mark Cuban Foundation is focused on recruiting students from underserved communities to attend AI Bootcamps with a key concentration on introducing girls and students of color to the AI and machine learning space. The program will introduce students to the concepts of AI through educational seminars, interactive lessons, and lab exercises. The training sessions will be open to a limited number of high school students living in or around Dallas who are interested in learning more about AI and machine learning.
Erin: The best part is that students do not need familiarity with computer science or programing experience to attend. All that’s needed is an interest in technology and a curiosity to learn. Whether we realize it in the moment or not, AI has changed the way we experience normal everyday interactions. It’s the technology that powers the systems behind Netflix recommendations, smart assistants like Alexa, facial recognition software on iPhones, and how platforms like TikTok know what content will be a best fit for each user.
The four-day AI Bootcamp will teach students what AI is and isn’t, where they interact with AI in their daily lives, and the ethical implications of AI systems. Students will also learn how to use Microsoft’s cloud computing tools to build their own AI applications. The bootcamp will be held over four Saturdays beginning Oct. 23.
Could you talk more about the technology scene in Dallas? What about Perficient’s presence in the area through partnerships like this one and with the Dallas Mavericks?
Erin: The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has a long-standing and well-established business hub with more than 100,000 companies headquartered in the area, spanning from startups and incubators to global corporations. In recent years, we’ve seen a thriving technology scene transform the business landscape in Texas and across the country. With such a close proximity to leading universities and high-caliber talent pools, more blue chip companies are choosing to expand their operations in the Dallas area to take advantage of the growing resources.
That influx and strong roots gives us endless opportunities to partner with businesses to innovate. Our Dallas team works with many of the largest healthcare, retail, financial services, and manufacturing companies in the North Texas region to digitally transform their business for the future.
Bill: Those are great points, Erin. Perficient has more than 30 locations across the world, including both Dallas and Houston, and we are committed to helping each of those communities succeed. The Dallas and Houston areas are home to more than 300 Perficient colleagues who are just as passionate about giving back to their community as they are about helping our clients succeed. As such, we’re making investments in programs like the AI Bootcamp to drive educational initiatives. We also have a great partnership with the Dallas Mavericks to increase awareness in those markets, across Texas, and beyond.
Thank you for taking the time to discuss our work with the AI Bootcamp. Any final thoughts?
Bill: Applications for the AI Bootcamp are currently being accepted. Parents and students interested in attending the Perficient-hosted AI Bootcamp can find more information about the program and applications on the Mark Cuban Foundation website. We can’t wait to meet these ambitious students and help shape their knowledge and appreciation for technology.
Erin: I’m so proud to have the opportunity to work with the Mark Cuban Foundation to educate Dallas youth, especially young women and students of color, who are too often underrepresented in the technology industry. Together, we hope to inspire and energize Dallas high school students to pursue education and careers in technology.
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