Seven cities to share $1 million to start STEM mentoring programs

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yesterday at the White House Science Fair, responding to President Obama’s call to action to get more girls and boys engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), US2020 announced seven cities as the winners of a national competition to encourage mentoring in STEM.

Sponsored by Cisco and launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, the US2020 City Competition challenged cities to develop innovative models for dramatically increasing the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects. US2020 is specifically focused on increasing STEM opportunities and STEM excitement for girls, underrepresented minorities, and children from low-income families. Public/private coalitions from 52 cities across the nation applied, engaging nearly 600 companies and civic organizations.

The 7 winning city coalitions, representing over 200 companies and organizations are:

  • Allentown, PA; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Philadelphia, PA; Research Triangle Park, NC; San Francisco, CA; Wichita, KS

The winners will share $1 million in financial, consulting, and staff support over the next year to help start local movements around STEM mentoring, including:

  • Communications consulting and training with Discovery Communications;
  • Funds to hire a local project manager (Grand Prize Winners only: Allentown, PA, Chicago, IL, and Research Triangle Park, NC);
  • Cohorts of capacity-building AmeriCorps VISTA members;
  • Access to US2020’s state-of the-art volunteer matching platform, built in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services;
  • Management consulting services from US2020 and external partners; and
  • Membership in the US2020 community of practice.

The plans developed by these seven cities represent some of the country’s most innovative thinking in engaging underrepresented and underserved youth in STEM. To learn more about each city and for local contact details, visit their mini-profile pages here: Allentown, Chicago, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Research Triangle Park, San Francisco, and Wichita.

Cisco is a founding partner of US2020 and the official sponsor of the US2020 City Competition. Cisco continues to build upon its two-decade long commitment to STEM education, supporting major programs to develop a robust pipeline of students interested in entering STEM fields. “Our nation faces a stark but significant challenge: how do we encourage more young people to enter STEM fields and ensure that America remains competitive on the global stage,” said Blair Christie, Cisco’s Chief Marketing Officer. “In addressing this challenge, we open the door of opportunity to a diverse new generation of young people. Cisco is so pleased to be a partner of US2020 and the City Competition. It’s part of our enduring commitment to increasing America’s talent pipeline by supporting bold and innovative STEM mentoring programs.” As part of its commitment to US2020, Cisco has pledged that 20% of its U.S. workforce will volunteer 20 hours or more in STEM mentoring by 2020.

Discovery Communications, parent company to the Discovery Channel, among others, has announced it will join US2020 as its exclusive media partner. Leveraging its entire suite of networks and services, Discovery will develop a Public Service Announcement, which will star MythBusters' and Science Channel's Head Rush host Kari Byron, and will be focused on motivating girls and minorities to pursue STEM careers. The PSA will air nationally across Discovery’s portfolio of 14 U.S. networks later this summer. Additionally, Discovery Education, with US2020, will take students on a virtual field trip to the White House Science Fair as part of their Of The People: Live From the White House webinar series. Discovery also will provide US2020 and its partners with a day-long summit focused on building marketing and communications campaigns and launch a mentor program with Discovery’s STEM-focused employees. “We are extremely proud to support this fantastic STEM initiative. Education is part of Discovery’s DNA and from our first broadcast, we set out to educate and entertain viewers about the world around them. Helping to build the next generation of STEM professionals is an important part of our mission, and we are pleased to partner on this critical program, providing resources and platforms to drive this important goal,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), in partnership with US2020 and Citizen Schools, has committed 25 AmeriCorps VISTA members, an investment of more than $550,000, to do the important work of engaging communities in this STEM mentoring initiative. Fifteen of these capacity-builders will serve in the winning cities, while 10 will support efforts nationwide. “Our nation's success depends on helping every child reach his or her full potential in life,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “We know the difference a mentor makes, and STEM mentoring can ignite a passion for math and science, building ladders of opportunity students might otherwise never have. We’re proud that US2020 is part of the STEM AmeriCorps family -- and just as proud that AmeriCorps VISTA members will strengthen STEM opportunities for students across the country.”

“Identifying and supporting programs that promote a healthy and robust STEM talent pipeline is crucial to the United States’ economic and national security,” said Pam Erickson, vice president of Corporate Affairs for Raytheon, a founding partner of US2020. “The US2020 City Competition has identified key programs that will provide new opportunities for businesses like Raytheon to help equalize access to STEM careers for underserved populations.”

Chevron announced today it has become the newest corporate partner of US2020, as part of its commitment to supporting hands-on STEM education.“Few things are more important to young people and the future of American competitiveness than a quality education,” said Blair Blackwell, manager of education and corporate programs at Chevron. “Our company not only provides financial support to hands-on and project-based STEM programs, our employees have also invested countless hours in mentoring the next generation of innovators. We look forward to working with US2020 on expanding mentorship opportunities, especially with underrepresented youth.”

US2020 has announced a partnership with Department of Energy (DOE) and its Office of Economic Impact and Diversity and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. US2020 and DOE will begin working together and sharing resources including DOE’s Women @ Energy and Energy Literacy programs. US2020 is also exploring ways to support DOE’s work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to bring both mentoring and energy literacy into the outreach models for public housing authorities as part of a national pilot program.

This summer the US2020 volunteer matching platform will go live and provide cities, and corporate and educational partners with a powerful tool to engage professionals in STEM education nation-wide. Tata Consultancy Services is a founding and technical partner and the pro bono developer of the platform. "TCS is proud to be building US2020's dynamic online platform that will match industry professionals with best-in-class career mentor programs, serving underserved groups, at-risk youth and minorities." said Surya Kant, President of TCS North America, U.K. and Europe. "We are excited to see this platform support and accelerate STEM education across these impressive city initiatives, and nationally across the U.S."

Together, these cities, US2020 and its partners are pushing forward a movement. The vision of this movement is an America where every child, especially every girl, every child of color and every child from a low-income family, has the opportunity to be inspired to pursue a STEM career.

US2020’s founding partners are Cisco, Cognizant, Raytheon, SanDisk and Tata Consultancy Services, now joined by Chevron, with additional support coming from Discovery Communications, Fidelity Investments, HP, Salesforce, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

About US2020

US2020 is a new organization formed through a partnership of leading education non-profits and corporate leaders in the STEM field. The long-term goal of the initiative is to mobilize 1 million STEM mentors annually by the year 2020, creating millions of moments of discovery – those life changing events when children launch rockets, build robots, write a computer program, or look into the farthest reaches of the universe. US2020 relies on a committed and growing community of public, private, non-profit, and individual partners.