The T.D. Jakes Foundation, a global nonprofit that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education, workforce preparedness and job training will host a first-of-its-kind virtual STEAM summer academy.
STEAM Academy 2020 is a five-week summer program open to Dallas County students, ages five to 16, that aligns with separate efforts from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the Dallas Regional Chamber to create a continuum of virtual learning programs to connect students with skills and opportunities to compete in the 21st century workforce. Registration is now open on the T.D. Jakes Foundation website.
“Unfortunately, school closures have a disproportionate effect on lower-income communities,” said T.D. Jakes, founder and chairman of the foundation. “Now more than ever, we must find innovative ways to increase awareness of our young people to the skills and careers of the future. I am proud to partner with Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the Dallas Regional Chamber to support our most vulnerable communities and ensure all children have an opportunity to dream.”
A no-cost program aimed at lower-income, underserved communities, STEAM Academy 2020—which will run from the week of June 15 to the week of July 13—will include three-to-four hours per week of online activities provided by Accelerate Learning’s STEMscopes learning platform, an award-winning, research-based national leader in PreK-12 STEM curriculum, in conjunction with STEAM content provided and sponsored by corporate partners such as home healthcare technology provider Axxess, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, the Beck Group and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
“With so many families struggling, we wanted to provide support to young people and their parents while also keeping our communities safe,” said Hattie Hill, President and CEO of the T.D. Jakes Foundation. “We hope that this program serves as a model for future efforts and a viable way to bring STEAM curriculum to every corner of the country and world.”
STEAM Academy 2020 effectively aligns with Dallas Works, Mayor Eric Johnson’s Summer Youth Employment Program, and Future Focus Camp, a college readiness and career exploration camp for rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the Dallas Regional Chamber. Due to social distancing concerns, these two programs have elected to serve students virtually this summer, rather than cancel altogether. Alongside the STEAM Academy, these programs and their respective organizations will offer a continuum of enrichment for students, focused on education, job readiness and employment opportunities.
“United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is committed to preparing North Texas students for success in school and providing meaningful career exploration experiences to help guide their pathways into the workforce. We are excited to join forces with the T.D. Jakes Foundation, the Dallas Regional Chamber, and Mayor Eric Johnson to help equip our students for the future,” said Jennifer Sampson, President & CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
The five-week program is tailored to the three age groups being served and highlights each area of STEAM—science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. Lessons are designed to engage children and help them understand a problem; plan, build and test the project or potential solution; and brainstorm and create ideas for improving or further applying the solution all while having fun and seeing new opportunities.
“The Dallas Regional Chamber is deeply invested in strengthening our local talent pipeline to ensure the students of North Texas are prepared to succeed in our region’s vibrant business community,” said Drexell Owusu, Senior Vice President of Education & Workforce at the Dallas Regional Chamber. “This summer, we are honored to collaborate with the T.D. Jakes Foundation, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Mayor Eric Johnson to serve our students when they need it the most.”
To help address the digital divide, organizers are working with volunteers and corporate partners to identify the need for digital devices and internet connectivity, and work through various options to provide a remedy. When registering, parents will be asked whether they have access to these devices and broadband internet.
“I am proud to partner with the T.D. Jakes Foundation, the Dallas Regional Chamber and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas on this important and groundbreaking initiative to provide educational opportunities for our city’s children,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “Though our regular routines are on pause as we handle the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still must commit to ensuring that our children are able to continue learning and developing the skills they’ll need to secure the jobs of the future.”
STEAM represents some of the fastest growing, most in-demand and highest-paid job sectors. Estimates show that 80% of all future jobs will require STEAM literacy and skills. According to the Pew Research Center, women in computer occupations have declined since 1990, from 32% to 25%. African American and Latino workers represent approximately 29% of the working population but comprise only 16% of the advanced manufacturing and 12% of the engineering workforces.
“Axxess is pleased to support this initiative to inspire young people and help them recognize opportunities that are available to them,” said John Olajide, founder and CEO of Axxess and 2020 Chairman of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “We not only have world-class engineers who can serve as role models for these young people, but we have more than 40 countries represented among our employees, so we know well the benefits of providing more opportunities that lead to greater diversity of thought in the work place.”
About the T.D. Jakes Foundation
The T.D. Jakes Foundation is committed to building bridges to opportunity in the United States and around the world. For years, T.D. Jakes has connected diverse communities across socio-economic divides. With the launch of his eponymous foundation, Chairman Jakes is harnessing decades of resources and connections to prepare people for success in the 21st-century workforce, lift underserved populations and connect corporations to new, highly skilled pools of talent amid increasing global competition. For more information, visit: www.tdjfoundation.org.
STEMscopes, created by Accelerate Learning Inc., is an award-winning, research-based national leader in PreK-12 STEM curriculum. Used by over 5 million students and 250 thousand teachers across all 50 states and internationally, STEMscopes provides comprehensive digital resources, supplemental print materials, and hands-on exploration kits that drive engagement and academic growth. For more information, visit stemscopes.com or call toll-free 800-531-0864.
SOURCE The T.D. Jakes Foundation