CNCS Expands STEM AmeriCorps Maker Education to Five Cities

Jun 18, 2014

Program’s Growth Announced at First-Ever White House Maker Faire

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Obama is hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire to celebrate a nation of makers, and to help empower America’s students and entrepreneurs to invent the future.  In response to the President’s call to action, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is expanding its Maker Education Initiative to provide this educational opportunity to more than 22,000 students and families in these cities.

The agency is deploying 12 AmeriCorps members in Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Pittsburgh, PA; Miami, FL; and San Antonio, TX.  These new efforts will build on those of the 10 AmeriCorps members currently serving in California to engage students from low-income communities in STEM-related activities, the arts, and other learning opportunities.  

“Maker education creates an opportunity for students to learn about careers that inspire them to dream new dreams,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our AmeriCorps members’ enthusiasm will help these students explore the wonders of math and science in an exciting way and spark greater interest that can create new avenues of opportunity for them.”

In addition to the Maker Faire at the White House, June 18 is also a National Day of Making. For more information, visit and follow #NationOfMakers on Twitter.

The Maker movement promotes key values such as creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and self-expression, and has the potential to get more girls and boys excited about STEM. Through STEM programming associated with the Maker movement, AmeriCorps members will provide the foundations and make connections that can increase interest in these fields and expand economic opportunity for the participating students.

With a focus on students in under-served urban and rural communities, this programming intends to expand the pool of Americans prepared to perform the jobs of the future and create a STEM workforce that can address the challenges of the 21st century.

STEM education has been the focus of several CNCS education programs as the agency supports the goals of the President’s STEM AmeriCorps initiative first announced at the 2013 White House Science Fair. The initiative is a multi-year effort to place hundreds of AmeriCorps members in nonprofits across the country and mobilize STEM professionals to inspire young people to excel in STEM education.

By following the guidance of the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service, CNCS has been able to demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships. 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 and building new avenues for the growth of these programs.

CNCS recently expanded its STEM education efforts to a summer program that is placing 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 – are connecting approximately 18,000 at-risk students in low-performing schools to STEM opportunities.

The agency also just 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.

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