Local charity taps into New Orleans’ music and arts scene to educate young people about technology

NEW ORLEANS (press release) — New Orleans Emmy-nominated inspirational rapper Dee-1 isn’t your typical technologist. Despite the laptops, synthesizers and drum machines he uses to hone his skills, his use of music technology is rarely taught in school STEM curricula.

Nevertheless, in the field of music technology – which includes high-paying jobs in audio engineering and music production – there are some of the computing principles used by a generation of New Orleans musicians and artists. like Dee-1 that the next Tech2Talent Career Festival hopes to showcase.

The rapper, along with New Orleans native DJ Polo and artist/muralist Kentrice Schexnayder, were recently tapped by the nonprofit LifeSkills Foundation to showcase tech as art at the Career Festival. scheduled for Saturday, April 9 at the Mel Ott Center in Gretna, Louisiana. In addition to music technology, the event will showcase IT careers including gaming, digital art, drones, coding and cybersecurity. Dee-1 is the festival’s featured speaker for the Inspiring Our Youth (IOY) series. During his presentation, the 2021 Governor John Bel Edwards‘ named to the Louisiana Council for the Success of Black Men and Boys will encourage young people to never be afraid to pursue their dreams.

“We believe innovation and creativity are synonymous,” said Michelle Jackson, event organizer and executive director of LifeSkills. “By meeting young people where they are and using their love for technology – smartphones, social media, games and music streaming – to help them develop a genuine interest in the field, we can nurture a generation of tech leaders. Dee-1, Kentrice and DJ Polo are great examples of the music, innovation and creativity that the city is known for, and we want to celebrate them and show how technology is used in their creative space.

The festival will feature over 20 interactive exhibitors including DXC Technology, LSU, Delgado Community College, Nunez Community College, Operation Spark, Zephyr Drone, Microsoft TEALS Program and Tulane University. There will also be a career fair, a speaker series, live wall art from Schexnayder, live interviews hosted by Be Loud Studiosvideo game contests, food, prizes and music from DJ Polo.

The event is free with prior registration on Eventbrite. The day will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the opening of the exhibition window. The lecture series will begin at 1 p.m. with 30-minute sessions moderated by Kelvin Gipson, director of Delgado Workforce IT, Marc Aubanel, director of LSU Digital Arts & Engineering, DXC Technology, scientist Treva T. Brown and Blacks In Technology (BIT ). Additionally, customers can participate in video game competitions, enjoy local food trucks, and watch drone demonstrations by Zephyr Drones. The first 100 guests will receive free food stamps and goody bags. Dee-1 will be speaking in the exhibit hall beginning at 1:45 p.m.

LifeSkills Foundation is a recipient of the Louisiana Nonprofit & Small Business Grant, which was designed to help administer COVID-19 response and relief efforts.

Tech2Talent will be held at the Mel Ott Center located at 2301 Belle Chasse Highway, Gretna, La. Customers are asked to pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tech2talent-career-festival-tickets-250074699157. For more information, contact Michelle Jackson at events@prsolutionsllc.org.

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