This summer, Verizon furthered its commitment to education by partnering with four HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) – North Carolina A&T, Morgan State, Jackson State and Kentucky State – to teach 700 young African American men about app design and development, robotics, and 3D modeling, design, and printing through its Minority Male Makers program. The effort, which includes two-years of mentoring in association with the National CARES Mentoring Movement, involved intensive day-long workshops throughout the summer that allowed the participants to experience technology first hand.
As Tony Lewis, Verizon’s Vice President – State Government Affairs aptly noted,
All too often minority boys face tremendous obstacles navigating the American education system. In too many U.S. schools African American males are overrepresented in educational categories associated with subpar academic performance. Conversely, they are vastly underrepresented in success indicators, such as enrollment in honors or Advanced Placement courses, matriculation to college and degree attainment.
To make matters worse, research from the Center for American Progress reveals teachers have lower expectations for students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
When we don’t expect our children to succeed, what chance do they have?
Asked why now, why this kind of program, Rose Stuckey Kirk, Chief Corporate Responsibility officer for Verizon said, “we knew that we wanted a relationship with historically Black colleges and universities because it’s important that these kids are in an environment where they can see themselves and they can see success and they can see potential, and historically Black colleges and universities bring that and some.” The program targets seventh ad eighth grade boys, many of whom are from the Baltimore, Maryland area, and the effort will continue to expand nationwide in years to come.