A.C. Initiatives Project Office part of group to win STEM Collaboration of Year award

The Atlantic City Initiatives Project Office and five other South Jersey groups were recognized by the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network for a STEM Collaboration of the Year award.

The distinction was for a project that ACIPO led to bring the Mark Cuban Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence Boot Camp to Atlantic City last fall for underserved high school students in the Atlantic City area. Additionally, the educational camp is leading to the creation of apprenticeship opportunities in the areas of cybersecurity and data analytics for Atlantic City young adults.

ACIPO, which exists within the Department of Community Affairs, shared the award with Atlantic Cape Community College, Atlantic City School District, Mindbytes, South Jersey Industries and South Jersey STEM and Innovation Partnership.

“We are so proud that the outstanding work of our Atlantic City Initiatives Project Office to expand STEM opportunities for young people in the city is being recognized,” Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner, said. “This award is well-deserved because the Project Office and its partners are forging a path to career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math fields that are so important to the future of our communities and our country.”

Atlantic City was one of 15 sites selected nationwide for the Mark Cuban Foundation AI Boot Camps in 2021.

During the boot camp, which took place on Saturdays in October and November, students learned about how AI is transforming society and how companies such as Google and Netflix use AI in their operations. They gained hands-on experience in building AI applications of their own and identifying areas where AI can be applied to make life better for their communities. Additionally, they heard from guest speakers like Mark Cuban and will.i.am and received instruction from mentors from ThoughtSpot with expertise in the topics being covered, such as bots, machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing.

The Mark Cuban Foundation has already designated Atlantic City as a host site for the Artificial Intelligence Boot Camp in 2022. Also, the boot camp inspired several local stakeholders, including the Atlantic City School District, South Jersey Industries, Atlantic Cape Community College, AtlantiCare, Ocean Casino Resort and others to create apprenticeships in cybersecurity and data analytics for Atlantic City young adults.

“We appreciate being recognized by the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network for what our partnership is doing to broaden young people’s skill sets and dreams of what they can accomplish professionally in their lives,” ACIPO Deputy Director India Still said. “When a person has STEM skills and experience, the sky is the limit on what they can achieve. Plus, they will be highly sought after by industries such as offshore wind and aerospace that are coming to the Atlantic City region.”