Blacks in Government

Daily Point of Light # 1425 Jul 21, 1999

Blacks in Government (BIG) is primarily a volunteer membership driven association that functions as an employee support group, community resource and an advocacy group. It is a non-profit organization focused on three basic principles—equity, excellence and opportunity. On-going annual activities of BIG include professional development training, mentoring/youth development and employment enhancement. BIG has more than 230 chapters throughout the country.

The professional development training offered by BIG includes an annual training conference, initiated in 1978 with the purpose of maximizing talents and skills of employees. The conference brings together nationally known experts, policy makers, administrators and grassroots leaders to address critical issues of the day that affect government workers in the workplace and in their communities. Training provides professional development and self-improvement that lead to career development and upward mobility. More than 3,000 individuals attend and participate in the conference. The achievements of the training have resulted in employees and managers being prepared to deal with common workplace problems creatively. The end result is a public servant who is better able to contribute to their organization's mission and to their communities.

BIG believes in the importance of programs and activities that benefit youth and thus conducts two annual national youth programs. This innovative community effort meets the need to better prepare youths for the future. Computer knowledge and the ability to communicate are identified areas of greatest need for youth development. The Training in Communications Program is aimed at helping young people acquire the communication skills they need for success in the workplace; the project provides youth role models and support systems through one-on-one mentorships with BIG members. The programs are aimed at youth in grades 9-12. Volunteers within the organization and alliance organizations are asked to provide support through sponsorships and active involvement.

The Information Superhighway Student Competition generates greater interest in computer sciences and is also for students in grades 9-12. The competition provides students the opportunity to develop their computer skills and demonstrate their expertise and creativity on the information superhighway. The project is based on studies that show that African-Americans students substantially lag behind the national average in the use of computers. Students are awarded computers and scholarships for completing web site presentations.