Verizon Innovative Learning @ MSU
Verizon has partnered with Morgan State University for an entrepreneurship and tech innovation program for minority male students in Baltimore, Maryland as part of their Verizon Innovative Learning program. This Verizon Innovative Learning (VIL) Program for Young Men of Color is a first-of its-kind program that gives minority males in middle school access to high-level technology - including coding, robotics and 3-D modeling & printing and entrepreneurship skills.
Morgan State University aims to engage 100 middle school boys each year through this program. Students will receive mentoring and technology instruction throughout the summer and have extended support and additional STEM activities during the school year. The program is free to students, and currently recruiting middle schools to participate.
Minority males are 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 the Verizon Innovative Learning Program to focus specifically on providing more STEM opportunities for minority middle school males. The program launched in 2015 at four HBCU campuses:
- Morgan State University
- Jackson State University
- North Carolina A&T State University
- Kentucky State University
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 surveys administered to both students and instructors.
The VIL program has now expanded to over 40 HBCU's and HSI's which include the following locations:
- 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