New Computing Organization Supports People with Disabilities (AccessComputing News - November 2010)

Richard Ladner, AccessComputing PI

The national Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT) has been recently established to focus on the following under-represented groups: African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and people with disabilities. CMD-IT is comprised of corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits. Its mission is to ensure that under-represented groups are fully engaged in computing and IT, and to promote innovation that enriches, enhances, and enables these communities. The Center's four goals are (1) facilitate national scale projects, (2) provide leadership initiatives, (3) provide a resource for information and statistics, and (4) facilitate a unified voice for a national agenda.

The Center has two major projects. The first is Incorporating Cultural Tools for Math and Computing Concepts into Boys and Girls Clubs, which is helping children who attend Boys and Girls Clubs get excited about computing by presenting computing activities that are meaningful to them. The second is the Annual Academic Workshops for Under-represented Junior Faculty and Senior Graduate Students, which helps graduate students and young faculty navigate the hurdles found in academia. In March 2010, an academic workshop was held in Houston that was partially funded by AccessComputing. At the workshop there were more than forty students and young professionals, five of them with disabilities. For more information about CMD-IT, visit www.cmd-it.org.