Why the focus on STEM in New York
AT&T’s commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education was in full swing this summer from one end of New York to the other. We’ve supported and collaborated with programs teaching students unique skills — ranging from 3-D printing of prosthetic hands for children in need to learning about drone technology to developing farm and food technology tools and other interactive STEM experiences.
So, why the focus on STEM in New York?
- The tech industry needs a capable and diverse pipeline of employees to fuel 21st century jobs. At AT&T, almost ¾ of recent student hires — including interns — begin their career in a technology centric area. Today, the need for qualified employees is outpacing their availability.
- Many high-paying STEM jobs go unfilled as candidates lack necessary technical skills, training or post-secondary degrees.
- By 2020, there is likely to be a shortage of approximately 40 million high-skilled workers and 45 million medium-skilled workers.
- STEM workers typically earn 26% more than those in non-STEM positions.
Here are just a few of the STEM programs AT&T has supported this summer:
In New York City, AT&T continued to support the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, a free, 7-week program that teaches 10th- and 11th-grade girls coding and introduces young women to tech jobs. This is our 5th year with the program and this summer we’re hosting 7 programs in our offices across the country, including a program in New York City. AT&T has also expanded its support of coding this summer in New York City by continuing to work with All Star Code, a tech education nonprofit that provides computer science training for qualified young men of color, to better position these young men for acceptance to college and, ultimately, for careers in the tech industry.
AT&T also supported the College of Staten Island’s STEM program, which prepares 20 high school students to succeed in college-level math courses by reinforcing pre-college math skills and exposing students to real world sociological, political and anthropological ideas. In addition, AT&T supported the Kingsborough Community College Science Innovation Initiative, a 5-week program during which 30 high school students presented entrepreneurial opportunity ideas in food and farm technology and gained valuable STEM skills.
In Western New York, AT&T has been busy this summer collaborating on 3 different programs to provide students with STEM literacy. We worked with the WNY STEM Hub to host Hand in Hand Powered by AT&T, a 2-week program for local and international students in need. The program teaches students to learn how to make prosthetic hands via computer design and 3D printing. The program used open source resources provided by e-NABLE, an online global community made up of individuals from all over the world who are utilizing 3-D printers to create free 3-D fabricated hands and arms for those in need of an upper limb assistive device. For the second year, we worked with the WNY STEM Hub to provide the Girls Coding Project Powered by AT&T, the region’s only all-girl coding camp designed to help encourage more girls to follow technology and coding education and career pathways to help bridge the gender gap in the technology industry. In addition, we also collaborated with the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology to provide more than 40 students with the STEM skills needed to create a full-length documentary video project on civic duty. This innovative initiative allowed students to learn the skills and work with the technology necessary to create film and multimedia projects. As video content continues to become more and more popular, this is quickly becoming an increasingly valuable trade. In addition, it provides the students with a unique opportunity to learn valuable lessons on civic engagement, public duty and what it entails to be a public servant.
In Central New York, AT&T also addressed the issue of the gender gap in technology education and careers by working with the CNY STEM Hub to offer the second annual AT&T and CNY STEM Hub Summer Camp for Young Women, the region’s only all young women high school summer program that focuses on STEM disciplines. The program also addressed the brain drain issue in the region, by focusing specifically on STEM technology-related careers at the forefront of Central New York’s growing innovation economy, to showcase the burgeoning career opportunities in the region. Participants learned computer coding basics, drone technology, robotics, 3-D printing and computer science literacy, among other more traditional STEM-related topics.
In the Capital Region, AT&T teamed up with the Tech Valley Center of Gravity to create Give Kids a Hand Powered by AT&T, a program that offered 24 students an opportunity to learn to create prophetic hands for local children and adults in need. The program, similar to the one in Western New York, was a multiple-week workshop that provided them experience creating prosthetic hands using 3-D printing technology and incorporating basic knowledge of anatomy, fundamental technology skills in engineering design, computer coding and advanced fabrication. The students also learned how technology can be used for social good, and they learned to help those who have a disability live a more independent life. The program also utilized online open source resources provided by e-NABLE.
In Rochester and the Finger Lakes region, AT&T collaborated with Finger Lakes STEM Hub and a number of organizations in a pilot program for Rochester School District students to develop needed STEM skills. Technology and Careers in Rochester Powered by AT&T utilized online lessons and resources, incorporated with interactive exhibits and hands-on career exploration activities aligned with the course curriculum. The program also included field trips to the Rochester Museum & Science Center and local businesses to build curiosity and interest in construction, manufacturing, transportation, energy and power through its interactive exhibits.
Our support of STEM-focused programs grows out of the Company’s long-standing support of educational programs in New York State through AT&T Aspire. With a commitment of $400 million since 2008, AT&T Aspire is the company’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue, including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring. Aspire is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on school success and workforce readiness by creating new learning environments and educational delivery systems to help students succeed and prepare them to take on 21st century careers.
Though the summer is coming to an end, AT&T’s commitment to STEM education programs for New York State students is not. This fall and winter, the Company is collaborating with a number of organizations, colleges and municipalities to support STEM and technology education opportunities across the Empire State to ensure our future workforce is prepared and equipped with the skills necessary to keep New York an innovation leader.
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