Verizon Is Changing How The World Views Minority Males
Imagine a word where all children, regardless of race or socio-economic status, have equal access to the technology, training and skills to become leading technologists of the future. A world where groups of young African American boys are taking courses in coding, 3D design and robotics that will make them competitive for the STEM jobs of the future. Recent headlines have been saturated with troubling news about young African American men, however it is important to unveil efforts that are helping to shift the narrative.
This is exactly what Verizon is doing through an initiative under Verizon Innovative Learning, that is exposing hundreds of young middle school males of color to life- changing tech courses, hands-on technology training and mentorship at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country.
According to recent studies, minority males are severely underrepresented in STEM fields and are less likely than Caucasian peers to graduate from high school in four years and pursue college. And with the number of STEM-related jobs steadily increasing, Verizon has taken the position that we must do more to level the playing field and provide these students with the access to technology and skills for them to build brighter futures for themselves.
The initiative was launched in 2015 in partnership with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In its first year, 100 percent of students increased mobile technology proficiency, 75 percent increased interest in STEM subjects and 69 percent increased interest in STEM careers. Students also developed 582 products. Today, the initiative has extended to 12 HBCU’s and Hispanic Serving Institutions.
As societal issues continue to surface, the students in the program inspired Verizon to unveil a provocative PSA, “You Don’t Know Me,” that boldly challenges stereotypes of young men of color and illustrates their potential of becoming the next generation of STEM innovators.
You can check out the video here:
The message rings through loud and clear: check your stereotypes at the door.
Learn more about Verizon Innovative Learning by clicking HERE.