The R.B. Annis Educational Foundation and the Cummins Foundation recently announced continued investments in the Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) program. Both organizations have financially supported the workforce development program in the past, and Cummins has donated the time and talents of its employees.
Striving to address a dearth of underrepresented minorities in the field of informatics, the iDEW program provides year-round, state-accredited, dual-credit elective technology courses in three Indianapolis high schools. High school students in the program benefit from many classroom and extracurricular activities, as well as from industry and college student mentors.
Designed and administered by the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI—in partnership with many corporations and community organizations—the iDEW program is in its fourth successful semester, with 225 students from Arsenal Technical, Providence Cristo Rey, and Pike high schools.
Students receive a problem- and project-based curriculum designed and taught by faculty from the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. The program prepares them for exciting, in-demand careers in information technology.
R. B. Annis made a $75,000 gift to support iDEW, bringing its total program investment to $150,000. The foundation’s late founder, Robert B. Annis, was an alumnus of Arsenal Technical High School. Board members Wayne Weber and Dan Yates said that Mr. Annis would have been proud to see this program implemented at his alma mater.
Cummins doubled its last iDEW investment with a gift of $50,000 to support student mentors in the classroom. Jane Richardson, IT strategy and optimization leader at Cummins and iDEW advisory council member, said that when she and Sherry Aholm, VP and CIO at Cummins, visited the iDEW classrooms, the participants most appreciated and valued the undergraduate informatics students who mentored them in their classes. The company’s employees have been among the most active volunteers in the iDEW classrooms and helped coordinate a summer field trip to Google and Cisco in Chicago.
There is a growing number of unfilled, high-paying jobs in the IT industry. The iDEW program inspires students and provides them with the skills needed to secure employment. The program also increases diversity in the IT workforce, as 80 percent of program participants are underrepresented minorities and women. Such opportunities would not be available to students without the critical financial support and expertise from organizations like the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation and Cummins.