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Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Celebrates the First HBCU Innovation Internship Program Graduates

Apr 30, 2024

Birmingham, AL – April 30, 2024 – The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), in collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. and Innovate Alabama, proudly announced the successful completion of the inaugural HBCU Innovation Internship Program with a graduation ceremony held on Friday, April 26, 2024. 


This event, hosted at EDPA, celebrated the achievements of six distinguished interns from four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Alabama: Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Miles College, Shelton State Community College and Tuskegee University. These interns completed a rigorous 12-week program that began in January 2024, aimed at diversifying the tech talent pipeline and enhancing opportunities for underserved populations in the tech sector. 


During the graduation, the interns each presented their capstone projects, showcasing the innovative solutions and contributions they have made to their respective Alabama-based tech startups, accelerators, and incubators, including Techstars EnergyTech Accelerator, Prosper HealthTech Accelerator, Innovation Depot, HudsonAlpha AgTech Accelerator, Immediate and Decatur-Morgan County E-Center. 


“As we conclude the first cycle of the HBCU Innovation Internship Program, we celebrate not only the impressive accomplishments of these interns but also the strides we are making towards creating a more inclusive tech landscape in Alabama,” said Miller Girvin, COO of EDPA. “These students have shown their promise as young professionals and I look forward to seeing them continue to grow in Alabama.”  


The feedback from the interns has been overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the value and fresh perspectives each employer brought to their experiences. 


“Innovation Depot is not just an incubator to me,” MarKaylee Talton, a freshman at Shelton State, said. “Innovation Depot is a place where each individual on the team plays a part in assisting people – from the ground up. No matter how much I poured into them, they consistently poured into me.”  


The HBCU Innovation Internship Program is a testament to EDPA’s commitment to economic growth, talent development, and innovation in Alabama. It reflects a strategic effort to ensure that the state not only attracts but also retains top talent in the burgeoning tech sector. 


The program anticipates its next cohort to start in Fall 2024, with EDPA and its partners looking forward to building on the success of the inaugural cohort of graduates, continually fostering an environment where young talent can thrive and contribute to Alabama’s dynamic and diverse economic landscape. 


About EDPA 

EDPA is a private, nonprofit organization, supported by more than 60 Corporate Partners. EDPA is governed by a board of directors, comprised of the state’s top business leaders, committed to the economic growth of Alabama. It supports economic development research, workforce development, talent retention and attraction, innovation and entrepreneurship, policy, lead generation and emerging businesses and community development initiatives. EDPA is the private sector’s means for contributing to Alabama’s economic development success. Its unique structure allows it to work closely with state, regional, corporate, and local organizations. In addition, it helps innovative startups and entrepreneurs Start, Stay and Grow in Alabama through Alabama Launchpad, which is a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation. Other programming includes ALEX (Alabama Experience) and FuelAL. 


Media Contact:  

Audrey Ferguson  

Phone: 812.760.1343  





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