It is easy to look at the American public school system and say there is a need to bring technology programs to certain student populations, minority populations who are not deeply represented in the technology fields. Of course, we are talking about female students and those of black or Latino heritage.
Implementing such programs, however, is another thing entirely. Designing new curriculum can be costly; and trying to implement it into a school system can be complicated.
But in Washington DC, officials are taking to the task. This is an area in which black and Latino boys made up 43 percent of the middle school student population. As such, DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced [last year] how the DC school system plans to invest $20 million in a handful of diverse programs designed to boost academic achievements among minority males.
“We know that our males of color face significant hurdles,” she relates. “Our goal is to give children in DC opportunities that inspire greatness.”
Known as the Verizon Minority Male Makers Program, the offering is a free, four-week summer season boot camp designed specifically to give sixth, seventh, and eighth graders on the rise in the DC area in order to encourage those students of populations which are grossly underrepresented in the field.
“The success is built on the pipelines,” remarks Anthony Lewis, who is the vice president of Verizon’s Mid-Atlantic region. “If you are going to invest in a particular university, you want to make sure they already have the existing relationships with their communities.”
And since technology jobs continue to grow in abundance, there are always openings, which means these children might have a better chance of landing a solid career, at an earlier age; and a better chance to excel at something with great promise.
The program will launch this summer at the University of the District of Columbia, who will provide the facilities as well as three faculty members and at least a dozen minority college students and college graduates in mentoring roles.