Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge 2021: EDequity Global Registers Over 300 Youth Across the Globe

On January 9th, 2021, EDequity Global launched the virtual training of youth from across the globe at the Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge. The free, online 5-week artificial intelligence (AI) short-course is open to women, underrepresented college/university students and entrepreneurs (ages 18+) to help kickstart their AI journey and the economy. The program is designed to provide beginner-level builders with cloud education, live mentoring/coaching and access to scholarships, apprenticeships, job opportunities, startup accelerators, funding and more.

In rapid response to COVID-19, it is EDequity Global’s goal to fuel progress in the area of economic opportunity and cloud education for global women and underrepresented youth, leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) and to explore how companies and governments can collaborate with educators to prepare students for the #FutureOfWork and #Entrepreneurship.

The youths are drawn from 13 countries ranging from Nigeria, the United States, India, United Kingdom, Kenya, and more. EDequity Global has strategically designed the Global Alexa Skills Challenge to accommodate multiple time zones.

According to a report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), 11 million girls may not return to school after the COVID-19 pandemic. With millions of young adults out of school or work, it is imperative to cushion the effect of this global pandemic and disruption of education.

The Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge kicked off on Saturday, January 9, 2021 and will include a total of 5 weeks (~2 hours per week) of self-paced digital training, videos, trainer-led workshops, discussions and virtual team mentoring/coaching with 2 additional weeks to continue project build and project submission. This program will:

1.     Teach you the basics of building an Alexa skill using Amazon Web Services (AWS).

2.     Introduce you to essential professional skills, career-development tools, resources & learning

This AI primer is aimed at beginners who have never built an Alexa skill and it uses similar methods of explaining the basics as other books and tutorials available. It differs in that all the lessons and demos aim to get you started building on AWS and imagining what is possible with voice and cloud technology in a fun, equitable, diverse and inclusive learning culture.

The youths will be asked to come up with an innovative business idea for an Alexa Skill that addresses one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The aim is to exchange and implement ideas for urgently needed solutions to current global challenges. The youths will discover the latest in voice technology and learn how to shape the future with voice. The 9 top teams will fast pitch their solutions to a virtual audience of tech industry all-star judges, VCs, business leaders, and entrepreneurs at the EDequity Global competition for a chance to win scholarships toward AWS training and certification (up to $20,000 USD total scholarship prizes). The Global Alexa Skills Challenge is positioned to provide easier access to digital skills for people hardest hit by job losses, including those with lower incomes, women, underrepresented college/university students and entrepreneurs.

Read Also: Digital Economy: Digify Africa Bolster Nigeria with Over 100 Trainees

The youths will emerge from the program equipped with a solid foundation of in-demand digital skills ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) using AWS Lambda and Alexa. Youths will also gain new skills using a variety of tools such as the Amazon Developer Account, AWS Educate and Microsoft Teams. Mentors will provide youths with leadership development and invaluable soft skills such as design thinking, problem solving, creativity, emotional intelligence, communication and teamwork, amongst others.  

“EDequity Global, is a brand within We Connect The Dots, Inc. a non-profit organization, founded by Shauna Oenning Ruyle in 2019 with support from 30+ global partners including Amazon Web Services (AWS), American Association of University Women (AAUW) San Diego, Netflix and African Leadership University (ALU).
We Connect The Dots, Inc. and EDequity Global are equipping participants with skills to contribute to the growth of the global digital economy, the opportunity to implement ideas for urgently needed solutions to current global challenges, and create and explore a new career pathway”, the Founder & Executive Director, EDequity Global, Shauna (Oenning) Ruyle said.

We Connect the Dots, a non-profit educational organization founded by Laurie Carey in 2013, seeks to use learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities and provide engaging learning experiences. We Connect the Dots exists in-concert with Ms. Carey’s for-profit entity, Nebula Academy (a D.B.A. of Laurie Carey Consulting). Nebula Academy’s mission is to use cognitive learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities, where technology is used as a tool for supporting productive and engaging learning experiences.

“EDequity Global’s second-annual AWS AI Challenge has gone virtual because of COVID-19 and although we are all facing a very serious global health and economic crisis, our education initiative has had the opportunity to expand its reach and help kickstart the economy in 13 countries!”

“As a native American woman and ally to BIPOC (black, indegineous, people of color) I am confident that EDequity Global’s bold coalition of partners will continue making economic and social impact, achieving gender equity, racial equity and building the next generation of inclusive leadership, jobs and entrepreneurship.

“With crisis comes opportunity for innovation. To drive innovation, we need to put technology in the hands of every woman and marginalized youth around the world. Now, more than ever, in the COVID-economy is the time to provide in-demand cloud computing skills, training and a connection to jobs that pay a living wage. Emerging technology is significantly transforming the way we work and live. We believe that marginalized communities should not be excluded from the opportunities that these changes create.”

“EDequity is unlocking human potential with artificial intelligence (AI) and addressing the human side of digital transformation.” Join us. www.EDequity.Global   

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