FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 27, 2014
New partnerships place AmeriCorps VISTA members in six southern states; seven major U.S. cities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of today’s White House Science Fair, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced a major expansion of STEM AmeriCorps to spur student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math education.
A new summer program will place 256 AmeriCorps VISTA members in six Southern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia. These AmeriCorps members, serving through community groups, educational institutions, and corporate sponsors, will connect approximately 18,000 at-risk students in low-performing schools to STEM opportunities.
This initiative will make it possible for students to learn about and build robots; engage with community members to solve challenging STEM tasks; write code that will be uploaded to the International Space Station; participate in a “scientist-for-a-day” program that explores various careers; and learn about food production.
“AmeriCorps members are improving the lives of millions of citizens and having a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our communities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “By strengthening STEM education for students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, STEM AmeriCorps will spark greater interest in math and science and build ladders of opportunity these students might otherwise never have.”
CNCS also announced a new partnership with US2020 and Citizen Schools, committing 25 AmeriCorps VISTA members to support US2020’s goal of mobilizing 1 million STEM mentors by the year 2020. Fifteen AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve in seven cities – Allentown, PA; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Research Triangle Park, NC; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Wichita, KS – while 10 will support efforts nationwide.
This announcement builds on the President’s launch of STEM AmeriCorps at last year’s White House Science Fair. The program is a multi-year effort to place hundreds of AmeriCorps members in nonprofits across the country to mobilize STEM professionals to inspire young people to excel in STEM education. Current STEM AmeriCorps initiatives include partnerships with FIRST, Maker Education Initiative, Citizen Schools, Teach for America, and other organizations – efforts collectively engaging tens of thousands of students in STEM learning.
STEM AmeriCorps advances the goals of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service to build public private partnerships that expand opportunities for Americans to serve and increase the impact citizens have on our communities and nation.
The Obama administration has made STEM education a major priority. In 2009, the President launched “Educate to Innovate,” a nationwide effort to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. A growing number of jobs require STEM skills, and America needs a world-class STEM workforce to address the challenges of the 21st century.
STEM AmeriCorps will advance this national priority by using national service to spur greater interest by K-12 students in the STEM professions. The goals of STEM AmeriCorps include improving academic performance in STEM coursework, expanding the number of students on track to graduate ready for college and for careers in STEM fields, increasing interactions between youth and STEM professionals, and sparking the imagination and interest of students to pursue STEM subjects.