AT&T Hudson Valley Hackathon Challenges Local Youth to Use Technology for Social Good and to Plug the Regional Brain Drain

Calling all youth who code or who are interested in coding, as well as technologists and people of all ages who’d like to make a difference in their communities, to the region’s first regional Hudson Valley hackathon Oct. 12nd, 2019

Innovation event will highlight the growing interest among local youth, educators, and professionals in the fastest growing profession in the world, as we apply technology to resolve employability issues together

NEWBURGH, NY — September 23, 2019 — On Saturday, October 12, budding technologists and mentors from across the Hudson Valley are invited to bring their laptops, imagination, and teamwork to the first ever youth hackathon in the region — known as AT&T Hudson Valley Hackathon. Not only is this hackathon the first one in the Hudson Valley, it is also the first one to feature teams that include educators, established technical professionals, and adults who want to develop new skills as well as high school and college students. This hackathon is for high school and college students as well as professionals and other mentors. It will take place at the Mount Saint Mary College, 330 Powell Ave, Newburgh, NY 12550from 9am-6pm. The hackathon is a collaboration between AT&T, Open Hub, Orange County and Mount Saint Mary College, and was born out of a desire to expand coding opportunities for Hudson Valley youth. Coding and computer science related skills are quickly becoming one of the most desired job skills to process in today’s global economy. Programs like the AT&T Hudson Valley Hackathon will continue to expose youth to future career opportunities that are available in the fields of information technology and coding.

The AT&T Hudson Valley Hackathon is part of the Hudson Valley Tech Festival (HVTechFest.com), a two-day innovation event featuring talks, workshops, and panels lead by tech professionals, software developer, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders discussing strategies for expansion of the Hudson Valley innovation economy. The festival is designed to ramp up the discussion on the current landscape, tech workforce, and advancements in open data, cybersecurity, machine learning, 5G and the Internet of Things. Leading industries such as education, healthcare and creativity will be highlighted.

The AT&T Hudson Valley Hackathon is free for youth, and 100 youth participants will be welcomed into this event. Their meals and snacks will be provided. Those with laptops — or even tablets — should bring them, but attendees can participate even without their own devices. No prior coding experience is necessary. While there is no upper limit on adult attendance, all participants must register in advance at https://bit.ly/HVTechFest; ticket prices for adults are shown on the web site.

AT&T Hudson Valley Youth Hackathon will be run in a similar fashion to other hackathons — in which computer programmers and others involved in software and hardware development collaborate intensively on projects to solve challenges with technology. This time around, young students and other participants will focus on issues within the digital world that impact them, mainly education and future employment issues. Participants will build apps, games, websites, animations and interactive stories related to solutions for education, such as availability, employability, skilled workforce retention and professional sustainability, while being judged on their teamwork, imagination, code and design skills, while rating the digital solutions provide to the Hudson Valley education and workforce community. The hackathon will feature mentors from area colleges, tech companies and local developers assisting the participants.

“AT&T is proud to collaborate with Open Hub Project, Orange County and Mount Saint Mary College to provide this innovative experience for local students as it further enhances our commitment to providing resources for STEM and coding-related educational programing in the Hudson Valley and throughout the State,” said Amy Hines-Kramer, president, AT&T New York. “Our economy continues to transform at a robust pace — requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and digital literacy — and STEM and coding opportunities like this one are vital to ensure that the students of today are prepared for the global economy of tomorrow. I am excited to see the creativity and innovation from the young minds that participate in this unique hackathon.”

Final projects at AT&T Hudson Valley Hackathon will be judged by a panel made up of local tech experts, community leaders, education experts and elected officials. Each submission will be scored on its potential impact on the category entered, the quality of execution, and creativity or novelty within the work. The hackathon will challenge participants to come up with technological solutions and tools to address the regional educational issues, workforce development needs and plugging the local brain drain of skilled youth, while awarding for best design skills, code skills and teamwork.

“Our goal in this hackathon is to engage young minds in the area of technology and help them become confident and critical thinkers as they work side-by-side with skilled technologists,” said Bill Fioravanti, Orange County Director of Economic Development. “Early introduction to programming teaches kids to think in a logical and systematic way, develops skills they can apply in all aspects of school, and introduces them to computer science principles.”

“We are very grateful to AT&T for partnering with us, for opening doors for our local youth, and for supporting STEM education in the Hudson Valley,” said Yulia Ovchinnikova, Open Hub founder and HV Tech Festival Producer.

Coding is quickly becoming the new literacy, with technology powering every electronic device kids and adults interact with. The appetite among students for coding is growing as the discipline is a main driver of innovation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, much of the growth in the demotic and global economy will come from STEM-related jobs — a highly lucrative and competitive field. By 2020, there will be an estimated 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs in the US. More than half of this growth will be made up of computer careers, underscoring the importance of providing the tools and skills necessary to compete in this innovation economy. AT&T Hudson Valley Hackathon will help to create a future of smart, innovative applicants to help fill these jobs someday.

AT&T’s support for the region’s first youth hackathon is part of the company’s legacy of supporting educational programs focused on STEM disciplines in New York State through AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature $500 million philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers. AT&T has given more than $103 million to support STEM initiatives since 1987. Projects supported by AT&T contributions range from after-school programs and camps for students at risk of dropping out to hands-on technology labs and elite robotics competitions.

This year’s Hudson Valley Tech Festival and Hackathon, the first annual event of its kind in the Hudson Valley, will bring together students, tech professionals, entrepreneurs, and government and community leaders, to discuss strategies for technology-oriented economic development in the Hudson Valley. Open Hub, producers of the Hudson Valley Tech Festival and Hackathon, are a premier technology resource center committed to community technology development. The Hudson Valley Tech Festival Programming Committee is comprised of leaders and technologists throughout this region. HVTechFest.com

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About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. The company’s signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, drives innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $500 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.

About Open Hub

Open Hub is a technology resource center in the Hudson Valley. It provides technology education and networking opportunities throughout the region. Open Hub offers high-quality intensive education and co-learning opportunities in technology and entrepreneurship. In collaboration with skilled practitioners, Open Hub designs curricula to teach real-life technical skills, provides workshops and bootcamps with hands-on technical experiences, and consults on open source initiatives. Open Hub provides support to a growing network of talented techies in the Hudson Valley who are inspired to work together, and promotes doing more together through collaboration, sharing resources, knowledge and opportunities. OpenHubProject.com

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