BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Minority middle school boys in four cities across the country are gaining hands-on learning experience this summer with advanced technology that is opening their eyes to many of the exciting professional possibilities that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and entrepreneurship skills can offer.
Minority Male Makers, a first-of-its-kind, two-year program created by Verizon, aims to enable minority middle school males to become creators and makers through 3D-design and app development. The long-term program goal is to empower a new generation of minority men by giving them lifelong technology and entrepreneurship skills to build the innovations of tomorrow and create brighter futures for themselves and their families.
Four leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation – Jackson State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Morgan State University and Kentucky State University – are directing this pioneering program, instructing the students daily during intensive, all-day technology classes on campus. The students will also be mentored by minority college men, in collaboration with the National CARES Mentoring Movement.
While much attention has been paid in recent years to empowering girls in these subject areas, few programs exist that specifically aim to spark boys’ interest in STEM disciplines.
“More must be done to ensure that minority men have a chance for a bright future,” said Verizon Foundation President Rose Stuckey Kirk. “The number of black men who earned science and engineering bachelor’s degrees has remained essentially unchanged for more than a dozen years.
“We have to do better, and Verizon aims to be part of the solution by investing in the futures of minority men as early as middle school,” said Kirk.
Students in the program will participate in all-day workshops, four to five days per week, for approximately four weeks. And, once or twice a month during the 2015-2016 school year, the students will participate in additional sessions that will include mentoring and support in their academic progress.
About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company’s innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit www.verizon.com/about/responsibility; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).