Kudos to NJ Tech Companies who Encourage STEM Education

Encouragement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is crucial to the state’s maintaining both a tech edge and developing and maintaining a technology industry.

There are many instances where established companies can get involved in STEM activities to encourage young people who may be their future employees. Over the past year we’ve covered activities ranging from robotics competitions (Data, Inc.), to internships, to laboratory visits and contests (AT &T), and other activities sponsored by N.J. tech firms.

We learned recently that AT&T provided a $250,000 grant to enable Seton Hall University (South Orange) and Newark Technology High School to launch a “New Developers Program.” Students will learn how to develop mobile apps for social good. The program is designed to serve as a replicable national model. The pilot Young Developers Program (YDP) is part of the university’s Center for Mobile Research & Innovation (CMRI).

Beginning in January 2013, and continuing throughout the academic year, 15 YDP students will participate in after-school online courses on coding, prototyping, user interface design, testing, and marketing. Seton Hall students and industry professionals will serve as mentors and help the Young Developers plan and develop a mobile app.

According to AT&T, the model curriculum developed for the YDP under the AT&T contribution will pursue specific college preparation and workplace development skills, including:

  • Introducing underserved students to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines through mobile application programming curriculum;
  • Providing an understanding of the impact of mobile technology across professional fields, with a particular emphasis on the promotion of social good;
  • Changing the mindset of underserved and at-risk students through confidence building and access to professional networking;
  • Developing skills that will enable students to set long term professional goals and pursue them.

Not every company can provide a $250,000 grant to help encourage STEM education. There are other ways to get involved. This summer, several N.J. companies promoted STEM education by mentoring and helping out at The New Jersey Governor’s School of Engineering and Technology which took place at Rutgers University. We discussed this in an article recently.

So N.J. companies, I’d like to urge you to promote STEM activities. Ask your fellow professionals what they are doing in this area and follow through.

Many, many N.J. companies give back to their local communities: cleaning up N.J.’s beaches, sponsoring charity runs, promoting giving. The list is long! We applaud you for these efforts. In addition, we all should be giving back to promote the future of technology.

Let me know about your activities in the STEM area for future articles. esurden@njtechweekly.com

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