Congratulations to our partner Verizon Wireless! On behalf of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the communication technology giant’s Verizon Innovative Learning (VIL) summer program recently won the ‘2020 Best Commitment in Education Award’ for its incredible work bringing STEM and entrepreneurial skills to underserved middle school minorities.
The education award celebrates the VIL summer programs for young men of color and rural young women to help strengthen the pathway between STEM subjects, higher education, and STEM careers by offering a free accelerated boot camp for underserved middle school students. The camps, which provide mentoring, the latest technology, and skills training, reached 2,177 male students and 1,449 female students in 2019.
In Spring 2020, Paradise Valley Community College, along with its sister school, South Mountain Community College (SMCC), were each awarded a $50,000 grant for the VIL Learning Out-of-School initiative. SMCC intends to host a camp for middle school minority girls, while PVCC’s camp will focus on boys. Due to the pandemic, the camps were postponed until Summer 2021, however, we are on track to recruit students through the Paradise Valley Union School District.
Under the direction of Randy Babick, Instruction Services Manager at PVCC, technology equipment will be provided for student usage and learning throughout the program. Using turnkey curricula developed by Verizon, camp instructors will introduce students to design thinking, social entrepreneurship, and 3D design and printing. Students will also have the opportunity to develop digital media products with virtual and/or augmented reality. Through direct exposure to immersive technologies, students will learn first-hand how digital media and mobile technology can be leveraged to create and deliver innovative solutions to social issues.
“I am so grateful for all the work Randy has done and will continue to do to support this exciting and impactful initiative,” said Christianne Nieuwsma, Interim Dean of Career and Technical Education, PVCC.
According to the Chamber’s announcement, the Citizens Award for Verizon is one of eight awards given to “companies that have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in helping our communities grow stronger amid a global pandemic, economic downturn, and movement for racial equality.”
Verizon’s education initiative has provided more than $535 million in market value toward STEM education.