DCA Shares Award with Atlantic City Stakeholders for ‘STEM Collaboration of the Year’

  • Posted on: 03/04/2022

New Jersey STEM Pathways Network Recognizes DCA and Partnering Groups for Creating STEM-Related Education Camps and Apprenticeships for Young Adults in the Atlantic City Area

TRENTON, NJ – The Atlantic City Initiatives Project Office (ACIPO) within the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) was recognized earlier this week by the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network as part of a group that won the ‘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 shared the award with Atlantic Cape Community College, Atlantic City School District, Mindbytes, South Jersey Industries, and South Jersey STEM and Innovation Partnership (SJSIP).

“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,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “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,” said India Still, deputy director of ACIPO and the person who started the effort to bring the boot camp to the city. “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.”

Aside from STEM-related educational opportunities and apprenticeships, ACIPO is also helping lead an effort to increase Internet connectivity for Atlantic City residents and businesses. They have applied for grant funding to do a broadband accessibility study for Atlantic City and are in the process of collecting data about Internet accessibility and digital literacy skills in the city.

These STEM and broadband initiatives address recommendations in the Atlantic City Transition Report (i.e. Johnson report), which was issued in September 2018, to build a diverse economy based on the principle of shared prosperity and to create pathways to opportunity. The Transition Report was conducted at the direction of Governor Murphy to provide strategic advice for strengthening Atlantic City. The initiatives also meet several objectives of the Atlantic City Implementation Plan, which was issued in April 2019 to put into action the recommendations in the Transition Report. These objectives include setting goals for employment training programs for city residents; developing a shared economic vision that will increase job growth factors; providing innovative and new afterschool and summer programming for youth; preparing youth for the future workforce; and targeting challenged populations to build new support systems and programs around their needs. 

The Atlantic City Initiatives Projects Office (ACIPO) is a team within DCA that reports directly to the Office of the DCA Commissioner. It is responsible for developing and executing an implementation plan for critical elements of the Atlantic City Transition Report, which was issued in September 2018 to provide the City and State with a roadmap for tackling the city’s longstanding challenges.

The DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including local government management and finance, affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, and disaster recovery and mitigation.

For more information on the Atlantic City Initiatives Projects Office, visit https://www.nj.gov/dca/home/ac/initiativesoffice.html.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media:

   DCa on Twitter



Lisa Ryan,
Gina Trish,
Tammori Petty
ph#: 609-292-6055