Verizon Innovative Learning Program for Minority Males

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Verizon is partnering with Morgan State University for an entrepreneurship and tech innovation boot camp for minority males in Baltimore, Maryland as part of their Verizon Innovative Learning program. This Verizon Innovative Learning program is a first-of its-kind, two-year program that gives minority boys in middle school access to high-level technology - including coding, robotics and 3D design - STEM and entrepreneurship skills. The program includes hands-on, interactive instruction and mentors. During the summer, students participate in all-day technology classes on college campuses. Throughout the school year students meet with mentors for academic support.

PURPOSE

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. In recent years much more attention has been paid to empowering girls in these subject areas, but very few programs exist that specifically work with boys to spark their interests in STEM disciplines. Verizon identified this need and created a new program to focus specifically on minority middle school boys, and giving them the opportunity for a brighter future.

STATISTICS

In its first year, which engaged 473 middle school boys, 100% of students increased mobile technology proficiency, 75% increased interest in STEM subjects and 69% increased interest in STEM careers. Students also developed 582 products. This data was collected through pre- and post-test surveys administered to the students and surveys of their instructors.

LOCATION

The Verizon Innovative Learning program for minority males launched in 2015 at four HBCU campuses:

  • Jackson State University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Morgan State University
  • Kentucky State University

This year, the program is expanding to eight new cities, where it will be directed by an additional seven HBCUs and one Hispanic-serving institution. The new university partners are:

  • University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
  • California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA
  • Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
  • Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
  • Delaware State University, Dover, DE
  • Hampton University, Hampton, VA
  • Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, MO
  • Texas Southern University, Houston, TX

VERIZON INNOVATIVE LEARNING IN BALTIMORE

Morgan State University aims to engage 60 middle school boys to participate in the program. Students will receive mentors and technology instruction throughout the summer and have ongoing support from mentors during the school year. The program is free to students, and currently recruiting middle schools to participate.