Siemens hosts college fair for black students | Automation.com

Siemens hosts college fair for black students

October 30, 2008 − In partnership with Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. and its Building Education program, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Department of College and Career Preparation created an unprecedented opportunity for its Class of ’09 students to connect with the admissions personnel from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The day-long event at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Chicago helped introduce CPS seniors to HBCUs - schools that they might not normally consider because they are out of state and perceived as beyond their financial means.

During the event held Friday, October 17, some 2,000 seniors were able to virtually tour 40 HBCUs and meet the admissions staff in one location. Each student had a chance to register with schools that interested them and provide data on their academic records. Later that evening HBCU staff from 23 schools announced the names of individual students and the amounts of scholarships they were willing to offer prospective candidates. Like an awards show, this part of the evening provided an exciting and lucrative cap to the entire event and approximately 300 students were offered partial, annual and full-ride scholarships collectively worth more than $35 million.

“This is an extraordinary program for us,” said CPS CEO Arne Duncan. “Last year, during this one night, our students collectively earned 18 million dollars in college scholarships. So what we do here is really a match-making process. We get great universities, great students, and with Siemens help we put them together and we make the dreams of college a reality, so it’s simply remarkable and just a huge deal for us here in Chicago.”

It’s an established fact that HBCUs create an ideal educational environment for students with diverse backgrounds. Spanning the current and last two centuries, HBCUs have a legacy of providing a strong cultural, spiritual and academic platform from which students can launch and then fulfill their higher-education goals. Unfortunately, because HBCUs are predominantly located in southern states, students and parents living in Chicago are rarely exposed to students or alumni and likely not aware of the institutions or the educational opportunities they may offer.

Similarly, the admissions staffs of these venerable institutions are faced with budgetary concerns that prevent them from traveling and reaching out to prospective students in the North. Through the financial support of Siemens Building Technologies Building Education Program, for the fourth year in a row, HBCUs and CPS students have an opportunity to connect.

“At Siemens, we recognized that a student’s academic career is most vulnerable at major transitional points,” says Michael Moats, Siemens Building Education Program director. “We tend to look at opportunities where we can provide support and some positive intervention to help less privileged students overcome challenges that kids from more affluent families may not encounter. With the HBCU fair, we help CPS students jump over geographic and financial barriers that would normally keep them from considering some of the greatest schools in country, ones that have a rich tradition of fostering the academic and civic achievement of students from diverse backgrounds.”

Since 2001, Siemens Building Technologies has helped HBCUs award millions of dollars in scholarships to students in Chicago. The outreach program continues to sponsor summer bridge programs to help students prepare for the world of work after high school, trunk parties to help provide college-bound students with needed school supplies, and adult learning programs. Building Education is also active nationwide supporting STEM initiatives and green curricula development. The goal is to provide students opportunities that will lead to careers in energy-related fields, including environmental and energy engineering as well as 21st century green technician jobs. The program partners with professional and philanthropic organizations such as the Association for Career Technical Educators and the Ford Motor Company Fund.

As a leading provider of energy and environmental solutions, building controls, fire safety and security systems solutions, Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., makes buildings comfortable, safe, secure and less costly to operate. With U.S. headquarters in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Siemens Building Technologies employs 7,400 people and provides a full range of services and solutions from more than 100 locations coast-to-coast. Worldwide, the company has 28,000 employees and operates from more than 500 locations in 51 countries.

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