Empowering Black & Indigenous Students in AI with Python

Vector’s Excel to AI workshop enables Black and Indigenous post-secondary students to learn about data science and AI concepts through hands-on exercises using the Python programming language. The workshop covers basic data analytics and machine learning capabilities with Python, exploring its ability to handle unstructured data and larger datasets, and harnessing its computing power. 

No prior programming experience is necessary.

Human male has his hands on a laptop keyboard. He is staring at three monitors with lines of code on them

The course

Excel to AI is a 6-hour online workshop spread over 3 days.  By the end of this workshop, participants will learn how Python can advance their future career in the use of data analysis, data visualization or, to simply support current activities that they regularly use Excel for such as reporting, analysis, forecasting, etc. The workshop will also demonstrate how to train simple machine learning models using common Python packages.

Excel to AI participants get:

Participants in this workshop receive a comprehensive introduction to the foundational concepts in Python and:

  • An invitation to attend Vector Institute’s annual AI Summit and Career Fair on September 15, 2023
  • Career development programming with companies driving AI adoption
  • Mentorship opportunities with companies driving AI adoption
  • A professional development certificate of completion

Who can apply to Excel to AI

Applications for this course are currently closed.

This course is offered to individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • You are a self-identified Black or Indigenous student or postdoc (Indigenous ancestry or heritage – First Nations (status or non-status), Métis or Inuit)
  • You have completed at least one year of post-secondary education (i.e., you are in second-year or higher in your undergraduate degree, or in your master’s, PhD, or postdoctoral studies)
  • You are a recent graduate (1 year or less) of or are currently studying a diploma or degree program at a Canadian university or college
  • You are committed to participating in each of the three workshop sessions and completing one final assignment.

Please note that enrolment in this course is capped at approximately 100 students; a minimum of 10 students is required to run the course. Given Vector’s limited enrollment capacity, not all applicants will be offered a spot in the course.

Key Excel to AI information


September 12, 14, 18


1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT



Time commitment

6 hours of coursework + final assignment

Applications are currently closed.

Join our monthly mailing list to hear about the next application cycle

Frequently asked questions

Can I use this course for degree credit?

This course is a professional development offering and cannot be used for degree credit. While Vector offers professional development to industry, health partners and students, it is not an accredited academic institution. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course that you can include on your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Will there be assignments that are evaluated?

There will be one final assignment at the end of the workshop that will be reviewed and graded by the instructor to provide you with feedback.  Upon successful completion of this assignment, you will receive a certificate of completion for the program.  

Why is Vector offering a free course on Excel to AI for Black and Indigenous students?

There are challenges facing Black and Indigenous people entering the field of Artificial Intelligence, STEM, and tech in general. Both statistical data on workforce participation*  and anecdotal evidence reflects that there are real barriers that require action. The purpose of Vector’s Excel to AI programming is to increase the opportunities to build research and career pathways in AI for Black and Indigenous students in Canada. This initiative is designed to meet the criteria of Special Programs in line with the values of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), to assist underrepresented groups to achieve equal opportunity in the field of AI.

*Based on 2016 Census data, Indigenous people make up 4% of adults in Canada but less than 2% of people working in STEM occupations are Indigenous (Analysis of 2016 Census data. Statistics Canada, “Data Products, 2016 Census.”). According to a Brookfield Study (2019) entitled Who are Canada’s Tech Workers? Indigenous people’s participation in tech occupations is less than half of non-Indigenous people’s participation in the field (2.2% vs. 5.2%). Similarly, Black people reflect 2.6% of the tech workforce but 3.5% of the population. A MaRS Discovery District analysis using a survey dataset powered by Fortay and Feminuity of tech workers in Toronto found that Black tech workers were more likely to report lower levels of diversity, inclusion and belonging compared to White, Asian, and other Visible Minorities.

I am a student at a university/college outside Canada. Am I eligible?

No, this course is open to students studying at a Canadian university or college.

I’m not in a STEM or STEM adjacent program OR I have limited to no coding experience. Can I still apply for this course?

We encourage you to submit an application. When applying, Vector will prioritize students who have limited to no experience coding in Python. This course is not intended for students who have extensive coding experience or are already proficient in AI-related skills. 

I have more questions about the course. Who do I email?

Please don’t hesitate to contact internships@vectorinstitute.ai if you have further questions about the application process or the course.