Verizon Foundation awards $300K grant renewal to CSUSB to bring STEM education to minority middle school boys

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, has awarded a two-year grant renewal of $300,000 to Cal State San Bernardino to extend its partnership in a program that offers minority males from middle schools across the San Bernardino City Unified School District summer intensive courses in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Since 2016, 297 San Bernardino middle school male students have participated in the program, and the additional funding will enable the university to continue the program through 2020.

Launched in 2015, the Verizon Innovative Learning program works with 24 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions across the country to prepare minority male students in middle school for the tech careers of the future.

Students participating in the program are invited to university and college campuses for summer courses that provide entrepreneurship training, hands-on learning experiences in next-gen technologies such as robotics, augmented reality, and 3D printing, and access to college-aged mentors. Following the summer courses, students are invited back to the universities, monthly, for continued STEM education courses and mentoring.

“We’re grateful to the Verizon Foundation for their foresight, dedication and generosity into helping to inspire young people in our community about the importance of STEM programs,” said Jay Fiene, dean of the CSUSB College of Education. “It also increases the prospect that these students will stay in the inland region as a well-educated and well-qualified workforce that will attract employers to bring business and industry here.”

The program also complements the shared efforts of K-12 educators, colleges and universities, and the business community in the inland region to help students be prepared for college by the time they graduate high school.

Minority males are severely underrepresented in STEM fields and are less likely than Caucasian peers to graduate from high school on time and pursue college, according to a report “Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males.” The Verizon Innovative Learning program helps to address this issue by providing the access to technology and educational resources to put them on a path to a brighter future in a tech-dependent economy. National results from the 2016-2017 school year show that 91 percent of student participants demonstrated and increased ability in science and 90 percent had an increased ability in math.

Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, brings technology and hands-on learning opportunities to middle and high school students in underserved schools and communities. We not only fund the programs, but we also create and administer them in partnership with leading nonprofits. We diligently measure the impact of our work and refine our programs to ensure we’re making a difference. We’ve reached more than 1 million students so far – and we’re just getting started.

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