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Howard U. to Lead IBM’s First Quantum Education, Research Initiative for HBCUs

IBM announced Thursday its first IBM Quantum education and research initiative for historically Black colleges and universities.

The initiative, aimed at driving a diverse and inclusive quantum workforce, will be led by Howard University and 12 additional HBCUs, with the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center offering access to its quantum computers, as well as collaboration on academic, education, and community outreach programs, according to a Howard press statement.

“We believe that in order to expand opportunity for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pipeline of the next generation of tech leaders from HBCUs,” Carla Grant Pickens, IBM chief global diversity and inclusion officer, said in the statement. “Diversity and inclusion is what fuels innovation and students from HBCUs will play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud and artificial intelligence.”

Also, as part of the company’s continued efforts to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines, IBM will make a multi-year $100M investment in technology, assets, resources and skills development through partnerships with additional HBCUs through the IBM Skills Academy Academic Initiative.

The 13 HBCUs intending to participate in the Quantum Center were prioritized based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other STEM fields. They include: Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Coppin State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T, Southern University, Texas Southern University, University of the Virgin Islands, Virginia Union University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

“Howard University has prioritized our efforts to support our students’ pathway to STEM fields for many years with exciting results as we witness more and more graduates becoming researchers, scientists and engineers with renown national companies,” said Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick. “Our faculty and students look forward to collaborating with our peer institutions through the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. We’re excited to share best practices and work together to prepare students to participate in a quantum-ready workforce.”

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