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With the signing of the Chip & Science Act, what's the state of our BIPOC communities' readiness for the innovative STEAM fields and the youths' preparedness?

Recently, President Biden and the vice president Harris administration signed the CHIP and Science Act. The CHIP and Science Act promised to make historic investments in U.S. workers, communities, businesses, and future workforce, keeping the United States the leader in industries like nanotechnology, clean energy, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence. Companies like Micron are announcing a $40 billion investment in memory chip manufacturing, critical for computers and electronic devices, creating up to 40,000 jobs in construction and manufacturing. And Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries are announcing a new partnership that includes $4.2 billion to manufacture chips and increase semiconductor production in the U.S. by up to 50 percent over the next five years.

  • What is the state of our BIPOC community's readiness?

  • Are we poised to arrive at the party prepared and on time?

  • What is the state of STEAM education in our community, the blacks, indigenous, people of color, and girls?

  • What is the state of our youth preparedness for Innovation taking place in the STEAM fields?

I was honored to discuss the state of our BIPOC community's workforce preparedness/readiness in the STEAM fields with Dr. Bernard Jackson, Ph.D., a retired Navy Captain, and the President & CEO of Leading-Edge Solutions, LLC.

Dr. Bernard Jackson is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Leading Edge Solutions, LLC, and a Service-Disabled Veteran owned small business. Leading Edge Solutions is a business management, leadership development, and Diversity & Inclusion consulting company specializing in creating innovative solutions to enhance competitive advantage in the global market.

Dr. Jackson is a retired Navy Captain with over 25 years of operational leadership experience in various programs. Significant leadership assignments at sea include Commanding Officer Destroyer Squadron Fourteen, Commanding Officer USS McFaul (DDG-74), and Executive Officer USS TICONDEROGA (CG-47). Important ashore assignments include service as Deputy Director Military Plans and Policy Directorate (OPNAV N13), Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group Fellow, Executive Secretary of Navy Human Resources Board of Directors (OPNAV N1), and Joint Staff J-5, and Strategic Planner.

From 2006 to 2010, Dr. Jackson served as the National President of the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA). During his tenure as President, NNOA supported Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard efforts to increase diversity at the service academies and Naval ROTC programs. He served as an advisor to the Vice Chief of Naval Operation to restructure the Navy's Diversity Senior Advisory Group (DSAG) to identify best practices in developing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

In 2011 Dr. Jackson established the NNOA Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) program. He leveraged a national network of civilian and military champions to create a STEM program that identified over 95 minority students to participate in STEM-related intern programs. From 2011 to 2014, this program awarded over $400,000.00 in scholarships to minority students interested in STEM-related careers.

Dr. Jackson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Savannah State University Foundation. Dr. Jackson also serves on the Board of the Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria (CCNA). CCNA coordinates with local government, state, and community stakeholders to empower a comprehensive community-wide effort, to increase student achievement and reduce the high school dropout rate. CCNA is an approved Supplemental Educational Services Provider authorized to provide additional academic instruction designed to increase students' academic achievement from "at risk" to "at-promise." Dr. Jackson served as the President of the Alfred Street Baptist Church HCBU College Festival Ministry from 2017 to 2021. The Alfred Street HBCU College Festival is recognized as one of the largest college festivals in the nation.

Over the past five years (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), the ASBC HBCU College Festival provided an opportunity for over $25 million in scholarships to be offered to high school students across 40 states.

In 2016 and 2020, Dr. Jackson was awarded the Omega Man of the Year Award for serving as the Purple Boot Mentoring Program (PBMP) Chair. The Purple Boot mentoring program supports young minority males by exposing them to leadership and male mentors in combination with robotics training.

In 2017 the Purple Boot Mentoring Program was recognized as the top-performing robotics team in the College of Southern Maryland annual robotics competition.

Other awards include Distinguished Service Award from -National Naval Officers Association (2016). Outstanding Service Award -National Society of Black Engineers (2014). Education Sponsor of the Year – Black Data Processors Association (2014). Distinguished Alumni of the Year – Savannah State University (2002). Awarded Key to the City of Savannah (1998).

Dr. Jackson received his Bachelor of Science degree (Chemistry/Math) from Savannah State University. He was awarded a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He received his Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) in Organizational Management with a specialization in leadership from Capella University. He has completed the Navy Corporate Business Course at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill business school.

He is a native of Macon, Georgia, and resides in Fort Washington, MD.

A Special Announcement:

There is an important event coming up soon at the National Harbor. It is the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA). The Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM) Global Competitiveness Conference Stars & Stripes Youth Mentoring Session will be on Friday, February 1, 2023, from 4 pm – 6 pm.

For more information, please see the flyer and contact:

Dr. Bernard Jackson


Tel: 703-655-943

Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.

Think STEM Careers! You Have the Opportunity to Create the Future and The Privilege of Deciding What’s In It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.

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