In June’s ITKAN meeting Adam Hecktman, Microsoft’s Director of Technology & Civic Innovation Chicago, will lead us in a discussion of artificial intelligence and its many evolving applications.
Advancements in technology can be a force multiplier in unlocking solutions for some of the biggest challenges facing society. That’s why artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied towards unlocking solutions as diverse as driving customer satisfaction to addressing climate issues facing our planet. AI can be a game changer for people with disabilities. Already we’re witnessing this as people with disabilities expand their use of computers to hear, see and reason with impressive accuracy. Microsoft has been working on better solutions supporting PwD such as real-time speech-to-text transcription, visual recognition services and predictive text functionality. AI advances like these offer enormous potential by enabling people with vision, hearing, cognitive, learning and mobility disabilities to further advance in three specific areas: employment, modern life and human connection. What is AI? Where did it come from? What are the issues we need to be aware of to ensure that AI works to benefit, not to harm. Join us as we explore this fascinating topic!
One of the many benefits of pervasively promoting coding in school is how it can help address the tech industry’s shortage of communities of color, women, and individuals with disabilities.
We will start off the evening with Shelley McKinley, who runs Microsoft’s Technology & Corporate Responsibility team, saying a few words about the work that her Microsoft Accessibility team is doing.
Then Tim Roessler, ITKAN Advisory Board Member and Director of Enterprise Applications at Joliet Junior College, will facilitate a discussion panel which will speak about Diversity and Tech and how their organizations promotion of coding in schools helps create a diverse, technology savvy workforce for their community.
The three panelist are:
Mindy C. Diaz: Disability Services Coordinator Joliet Junior College
Liz Rafferty: Executive Director Genesys Works Chicago
Lance Russell: Chief Executive Officer Chicago Tech Academy High School
Please join us on Thursday, December 14th for an engaging, fast-paced, end-of-year discussion on 10 big topics in tech! Several members on our advisory team will briefly present on one of the 10 breakthrough technologies of 2017 as noted by the MIT Technology Review.
These technologies all have staying power. They will affect the economy and our politics, improve medicine, or influence our culture. Some are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop, but we’ll all benefit from being aware of each!
We will start promptly at 5:30 pm so we can cover each topic in 10-15 minutes.
ITKAN’s September meeting was on the Tech Month Chicago calendar, and they have a Public Awards program this year. Please consider nominating people who have attended our event for a Techie Award. Here are the qualifications:
Have attended more than one of our events this year.
Have shown something original, unique, or excellent that deserves to be celebrated.
Are people who will appreciate encouragement and recognition.
Are people who don’t get recognized often.
Are perhaps people you don’t know well but you admire.
Are people who are likely to show up to our awards event on Oct. 1 to receive their ribbons in person.
Are not a group of your best buddies.
Are not your business partners or your sponsors.
Are not people who you can monetarily benefit from by nominating.
To nominate people:
Please send Tech Month Chicago their name, email address, and Twitter or LinkedIn Profile links. Tech Month Chicago will invite them to and recognize them at their event on October 1st.
I once again had the great honor of presenting at an ITKAN meeting this time on the topic of self-directed learning. We had a great turnout and a lively discussion about self-directed learning and online educational platforms. There was a wide range of experience with these providers with a few who have never taken any online courses to a couple who were well experienced with them. As promised, I have uploaded the presentation to the ITKAN website as a PowerPoint and as a PDF. I have also added it to SlideShare.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me through any of the means mentioned at the end of the presentation. In addition, come join us in the ITKAN LinkedIn Group to continue the discussion. See you at the next meeting.
For the first time ever, MidCamp, the Midwest Drupal Camp is offering free trainings to select individuals who have expressed interest in working with web technologies and are looking to make a start working with websites. If you haven’t worked with Drupal or any Content Management System (CMS) before, this training could be for you. MidCamp would love to offer the members of ITKAN this free training. They have 20 spaces currently available spread out over 4 sessions over the course of Friday, March 31st and Saturday, April 1st, 2017. The trainings will happen at the DePaul University Lincoln Park Campus which is an accessible space. If you require extra accommodations please contact email@example.com. Users after the first 20 will be wait listed.
For more information or to sign up, please visit MidCamp’s website.
Yesterday I had the honor of speaking on a panel at the 1st Annual Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit which was hosted at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Headquarters on 300 East Randolph Street in Chicago. The ADA 25 Chicago Opportunity Summit assembled national and local leaders to explore strategies to increase access and inclusion of people with disabilities in the areas of education and employment.
Photo via Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Twitter feed (@ChicagolandCmbr)
The second day was presented by the Chicagoland Business Leadership Network and the theme revolved around discussing best practices and strategies for recruiting, employing and retaining people with disabilities. The panel I sat on, Closing the Employment Gap, included knowledgeable people from The Sea Glass Group, AbilityLinks, DePaul University, and Health & Disability Advocates. We discussed how employers can diversify their workforce by hiring talented professionals with disabilities. An important aspect of this is looking for talent in the right places.
ITKAN is a member driven professional networking and growth organization with a focus on professionals and aspiring professionals with disabilities within the technology field. While this means getting together with our members monthly to discuss technology and employment trends, ITKAN also works with companies to partner to train to their needs. We will coordinate on-the-job training and internship programs that may or may not be tied to grants or public funding such as National Emergency Grant and Workforce Investment Act. There are great organizations and services out there that will help companies find the right talent, and we are also here to help companies develop processes and documentation for internship and train-to-hire programs for people with disabilities.