Next-generation learning: SJI brings AI bootcamp to 50 N.J. high school students

4-Saturday workshop aims to teach students how artificial intelligence is impacting their lives now — and how it will in future

In an effort to help prepare today’s high school students for next-generation technologies, South Jersey Industries, in partnership with the Department of Community Affairs and the Mark Cuban Foundation, is sponsoring a four-week bootcamp on artificial intelligence for 50 New Jersey students.

South Jersey Gas, now in its second consecutive year as a host company, will deliver this year’s program to 25 high school students from the Atlantic City area. In addition, Elizabethtown Gas will deliver the AI Bootcamp to 25 Union-based high school students, marking the utility’s first year participating in the program.

The Mark Cuban Foundation AI Bootcamp is a nationwide initiative and curriculum offered to high school students interested in AI and other emerging technologies.

The bootcamp, which started last Saturday, will run each of the next three Saturdays.

SJI and education

In recognition of New Jersey’s sixth annual Careers in Utilities Week, South Jersey Gas and Atlantic City Electric recently held a celebratory event and career fair at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology.

In addition, SJI partners with the Atlantic County Institute of Technology and Junior Achievement of New Jersey to provide internships and networking opportunities to high school students throughout southern New Jersey.

For college students and early-career professionals, SJI offers the IGNITE internship program and the two-year rotational POWER Leadership Development Program.

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Over the course of four half-day sessions, students learn what AI is and is not, where they already interact with AI in their lives and the ethical implications of AI systems. The sessions will include a guest speaker and interactive lesson on topics such as machine learning, chatbots and computer vision.

Each session will also include a lab exercise supported by South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas’ trained mentors.

Leonard Brinson Jr., senior vice president and chief information officer at SJI, said the program matches the vision and the mission of the company.

“At SJI, we’re constantly looking for opportunities that allow us to make a meaningful impact on the communities we serve,” he said. “The Mark Cuban Artificial Intelligence Bootcamp enables SJI to contribute to the personal and professional growth of the young adults in our service territories.”

SJI and its utilities’ continued participation in the Mark Cuban Foundation AI Bootcamp is a testament to the organization’s commitment to providing early-career and educational opportunities to local youth.

The bootcamp is not necessarily geared to the energy or utility sectors.