American Airlines Hosts Black Enterprise’s 7th Annual BE Smart Hackathon

Photo of students at computer lab kiosk
Students working at computer station. (Photo courtesy

More than 100 students to compete for career opportunities and prizes with technology partners during the in-person event on Oct. 6–9.

NEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s 7th Annual BE Smart Hackathon, hosted by American Airlines, will hold its first in-person tech competition since 2019. This year’s hack, with the theme “Homecoming 2022: All Code, No Switch!” brings teams of over 100 students from 19 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to compete for prizes from American Airlines and other leading technology partners supporting the event.

The BE Smart Hackathon provides HBCU students with valuable opportunities to network, build relationships, gain mentorship, engage in career preparation, and add meaningful experiences to their résumés to pursue employment in a tech industry seeking to recruit more diverse talent. Students will also benefit from virtual workshops on the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence, data analytics, and natural language processing, from Microsoft, IBM, HP, and many others tech companies.

“For decades, technology companies have lamented their ineffectiveness at finding and recruiting African American talent,” says BLACK ENTERPRISE President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. “HBCUs have been the source of top-notch talent in practically every industry. Our annual BE Smart Hackathon, in partnership with American Airlines, not only identifies and showcases promising Black talent but provides platforms for those companies to recruit them for internships and jobs.”

In addition to the competition, BLACK ENTERPRISE and American Airlines will host a special town hall session—”Developing Top Tech Talent At HBCUs”—focusing on how HBCUs can build corporate partnerships, overcome barriers, and identify new opportunities to develop and advance students and graduates who can participate in the evolving IT space across tech, aviation/transportation, hospitality, finance, and other sectors.

Each year, BE Smart Hackathon participants are recruited for internships and full-time job opportunities at American Airlines and its technology partners. American Airlines will connect its technical staff to mentor each team during the 24-hour hackathon. The mentor will help remove any roadblocks and advise the team on preparing and giving their presentation to the judges.  

BLACK ENTERPRISEyour ultimate source to build Wealth for Life, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers. A multimedia company, BE also produces video programming, business and lifestyle events, web content, and digital media. Visit for more information.


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