‘The goal is to keep IBM in Port Huron’: Registration opens for technology and education competition

Registration opened earlier this week for the IBM EdTech Youth Challenge, a competition where young adults utilize the latest technology to come up with solutions for today’s top social issues.

For the second year in a row, IBM has partnered with Port Huron-based nonprofit The INDUSTRY, which fosters career development skills in young people. It’s an exciting opportunity for The INDUSTRY, as they are IBM’s only partner in Michigan to administer the challenge.

“It’s a huge honor to be recognized by a Fortune 500 company. It’s a huge deal. With the educational programs we have happening here, it’s intentional. It’s about the individual but in a holistic way. We want to give people an opportunity,” says Josh Sabo, founder of The INDUSTRY.

“It says a lot about our board, about Port Huron’s position in the state.”

As exciting as it is for The INDUSTRY, the IBM EdTech Youth Challenge presents an even more exciting opportunity for area young people.

Young adults, ranging in ages from 15 to 25 years old, are encouraged to register for the competition, which opened Monday, March 1. Sabo encourages people to register even if they don’t have an idea fleshed out just yet; that’s where The INDUSTRY will help out.

Teams of two to six young adults are asked to identify a social issue in one of five categories: environmental sustainability, human trafficking, malnourishment, poverty, or suicide. They will work with staff at IBM and The INDUSTRY to learn artificial intelligence, or AI, cybersecurity, and robotics technologies to then apply those skills to the social issue identified.

“Students will have access to IBM tools and technology and can come out of this with certifications in AI and cybersecurity and others,” Sabo says. “Even if they don’t win, it’s really great on a resume.”

As Sabo looks to build The INDUSTRY — there are plans for a satellite campus in Mt. Clemens and perhaps another in Detroit, as well as potential franchises in other states — one of his main goals is to build student housing in St. Clair County.

“With the housing, we want to build an IBM Tech Center for the students,” he says.

“The goal is to keep IBM in Port Huron so they can bring their knowledge and resources to the community.”

Formal registration for the IBM EdTech Youth Challenge closes April 30 and can be found online. The winners, who receive a two-week internship at IBM, will be announced in August.

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