Verizon grants $100K to NextWaveSTEM to launch digital inclusion program

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CHICAGO, IL – Verizon announces a $100,000 award to NextWaveSTEM (NWS) for the development of Project Integrated Neighborhood Technology Engagement Laboratory (Project INTEL) in Chicago. The partnership is part of the Verizon Forward Community Enhancement Award, a $1 million national initiative equipping communities with the tools to navigate an increasingly technological world.

NWS will partner with the Gary Comer Youth Center to design and implement Project INTEL, a program focused on STEM education, emerging tech innovation, and workforce preparation. Participants from Chicago’s underserved South Side communities will engage in STEM courses that foster learning through hands-on activities that help develop 21st century skills essential for success in higher education and careers. By using emerging technologies to ignite a passion for learning, students will build, code, play, and learn, making important connections for solving real world problems.

A significant digital divide persists within Chicago’s communities of color. This challenge was compounded by the closure of over 150 public schools in the Chicago Public School District, which disproportionately affected students from the South and West sides of the city.1Through Project INTEL, NWS will grow STEM resources and work to close the divide for these students.

NWS aims to provide equitable opportunities for both educators and students to access innovative educational experiences in order to advance education.

“The Community Enhancement Award reflects Verizon’s commitment to advancing digital literacy and inclusion in the communities we serve,” said Tony Lewis, Vice President of Public Policy for Verizon. “We are committed to listening to and meeting communities where they are by partnering with innovative organizations, such as NextWaveSTEM, to ensure communities have the digital skills and tools they need to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital economy.” 

"As technology plays a pivotal role in inspiring the next generation of innovators and tech leaders, Verizon is proud to support NextWaveSTEM’s expansion of educational opportunities to inspire Chicago’s young minds,” said Andy Brady, Verizon Great Lakes Market President, “We look forward to nurturing the talents of Chicago's youth and preparing them for a future filled with endless possibilities."

This effort is part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement, and will build on the company’s goals of preparing 500,000 individuals for jobs of the future, providing 10 million young people with digital skills and supporting 1 million small businesses with resources to succeed in the digital economy. To learn more about Verizon’s Digital Inclusion efforts, visit

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