Information Technology Senior Management Forum Host Summit to Foster Career Growth among African-Americans in IT Industry

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African-Americans are represented in the information technology (IT) workforce in percentages far lower than any other ethnic group in the US. In response to this startling reality, the members of the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) have joined forces with Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) to host the first and a much-needed IT career panel discussion, the ITSMF/WSSU CIO Summit, Thursday, March 27, 2008 beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the campus of Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, NC.

African-Americans are represented in the information technology (IT) workforce in percentages far lower than any other ethnic group in the US. In response to this startling reality, the members of the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) have joined forces with Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) to host the first and a much-needed IT career panel discussion, the ITSMF/WSSU CIO Summit, Thursday, March 27, 2008 beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the campus of Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, NC.

“The members of ITSMF recognize the need for initiatives that foster growth and nurture the next wave of talent among non-C-Suite African-American IT professionals and students seeking to enter the field,” says Zackarie Lemelle, vice president and chief information officer, Johnson & Johnson Information Technology Corporate Systems and ITSMF chairperson.

The purpose of the ITSMF/WSSU CIO Summit is to provide an IT career road map for junior and senior level college students in the computer science and business schools at Winston Salem State University; offer select high school students from the Bill Gates Academy exposure to career options within information technology, and raise funds and awareness for the Winston-Salem State University endowment.

African-Americans represent a small percentage of those in the IT industry’s C-Suite and the talent pool is becoming increasingly smaller according to research published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and in an article published by CIO Insight. The percentage of employed African-Americans in IT managerial and staff professional positions declined nearly 26 percent over the past 6½ years while the proportion of whites inched ahead by 2.3 percent. Employment within IT among Asians soared by more than 17 percent.

ITSMF/WSSU CIO Summit Panelists will include CIO’s from companies such as Hanesbrands, Wachovia, State of Ohio and Johnson & Johnson.

Summit attendees will have the opportunity to learn how to develop and advance a career in IT. “Winston-Salem’s computer science department continues to graduate great candidates for employment, and with experience, will be more than ready for the IT C-Suite,” says Dr. Elva Jones, chair of WSSU’s Computer Science Department and professor of computer science.

The Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to fostering senior-level executive talent among African-American IT professionals. They provide a supportive network for enhancing the leadership skills of the IT executives that make up their membership; and their formal mentoring program assists dedicated mid-level managers to grow into executive level positions in IT.

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Pamela Wedgeworth
ITSMF
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