STEM AmeriCorps Program to Expand with Best Buy Grant
National service agency also announces new partners, locations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — As part of today’s White House Science Fair, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced an expansion of STEM AmeriCorps, an initiative designed to spur student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math education.
A grant from Best Buy will place 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members at Best Buy Teen Tech Centers in eight locations: Chicago, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, San Antonio, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. These AmeriCorps members will help low-income teens to participate in the FIRST robotics competition. FIRST, through its AmeriCorps VISTA program, is one of 10 national partners supported by the Best Buy Foundation to help underserved teens build 21st century skills and bridge the Digital Divide.
“AmeriCorps members have a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our communities, but we know they are especially valuable to the education community,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps. “By strengthening STEM education for students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, STEM AmeriCorps will spark greater interest in math and science and build ladders of opportunity these students might otherwise never have. I’m grateful for Best Buy’s support in helping us achieve this mission.”
“While it is more important than ever for today’s youth to be tech-savvy and develop 21st-century skills that prepare them for future success, far too many teens still lack access to technology. As a result, they fall behind their peers. Best Buy is on a mission to provide these teens with opportunities by leveraging our local community presence, technology resources and talented employees to deliver creative, engaging tech learning programs for youth,” said Susan Bass Roberts, Senior Director of Community Relations and Diversity and Inclusion at Best Buy. “Working with FIRST and AmeriCorps VISTA bring more resources to help accomplish this important goal.”
The Best Buy grant will strengthen CNCS’s decade-long partnership with FIRST, a nonprofit founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people through robotics competitions. At the 2013 White House Science Fair, President Obama announced that 50 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve with FIRST in low-income communities across the country. AmeriCorps VISTA members currently serve with FIRST in 26 states, where they recruit volunteers and support teams of students to participate in FIRST competitions, making it possible for more students to be exposed to the STEM fields.
CNCS also announced plans to expand its summer STEM AmeriCorps program into new states. Last year, the federal agency placed 256 AmeriCorps VISTA members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia. This initiative connected more than 20,500- at-risk students in low-performing schools to STEM opportunities.
First announced by President Obama at the White House Science Fair in 2013, STEM AmeriCorps is a multi-year effort to place hundreds of AmeriCorps members in nonprofits across the country to inspire young people to excel in STEM education. Current STEM AmeriCorps initiatives include partnerships with FIRST, Maker Education Initiative, Citizen Schools, US2020, Teach For America, and other organizations – efforts collectively engaging tens of thousands of students in STEM learning.
STEM AmeriCorps advances the goals of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service to build public-private partnerships that expand opportunities for Americans to serve and increase the impact citizens have on our communities and nation.
The Obama administration has made STEM education a major priority. In 2009, the President launched “Educate to Innovate,” a nationwide effort to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade.
STEM AmeriCorps advances this national priority by using national service to spur greater interest by K-12 students in the STEM professions. The goals of STEM AmeriCorps include improving academic performance in STEM coursework, expanding the number of students on track to graduate ready for college and for careers in STEM fields, increasing interactions between youth and STEM professionals, and sparking the imagination and interest of students to pursue STEM subjects.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
Since 1995, Best Buy and its Foundation have invested more than $300 million in communities nationwide supporting programs that leverage technology to inspire and engage teens and prepare them for college and future careers. Best Buy is a leading provider of technology products, services and solutions. The company offers expert service at unbeatable price more than 1.5 billion times a year to the consumers, small business owners and educators who visit our stores, engage with Geek Squad agents or use BestBuy.com or the Best Buy app. The company has operations in the U.S and Canada, where more than 70 percent of the population lives within 15 minutes of a Best Buy store, as well as in Mexico where Best Buy has a physical and online presence. ?
Samantha Jo Warfield