UNCF and Boys & Girls Clubs announce programs to bring students into STEM fields

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and UNCF (formerly United Negro College Fund) have announced separate plans to provide underserved youth with opportunities to learn and develop skills in STEM fields.

Starting next year, Boys and Girls Clubs will be participating in the Anyone Can Code project which will allow young people to create apps for Apple computers, smartphones and other devices using the tech giant’s Swift programming language.

Jimmy Works, director of STEM programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, said the youth organization already offers science, technology, engineering and math classes to “about 1,000 children per year.” and aims to double that number.

He said Apple’s participation would introduce a popular new programming language for young people, adding that the company was donating equipment to facilitate training.

“Most of our clubs have devices on hand [that are] older models, ”said Works. “A lot of our equipment is somewhat outdated. “

The donation of touchscreen tablets “is truly transformative. It allows us to have the latest technology and to give access not only to the new iPads, but also to [Swift] school program, ”he said. “I think our children will benefit enormously from this. This will allow our children to dream and compete with their peers. “

The Boys & Girls Clubs have 16 locations in the DC metro area and serve 21,000 kids from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Meanwhile, UNCF said it has partnered with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a lobby group representing more than 350 leading tech companies, to help it expand its technology efforts within its network of colleges and historically black universities (HBCU).

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which last year announced it would add a “racial justice and equity portfolio” to its work, said it “would leverage its resources, assets and relationships with its member companies to facilitate internships for HBCU students and identify career opportunities for students. “

“We have been working in the valley for several years, with Google and other tech companies,” said Chad Womack, senior director of national STEM programs and initiatives at UNCF. “But the partnership with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group is especially exciting because it gives us a way to speak to the entire Silicon Valley tech community, not just one company at a time.”

“Everyone has something valuable to contribute. And part of that is being fully dedicated to work, career, industry, ”Womack said. “At the end of the day, diversity, equity [and] inclusion means that we have a diverse set of people, communities and opportunities that provide them with unique opportunities to have equity in what is developed, produced and marketed and that we are as inclusive as possible.

UNCF’s goal is to ensure that “our students go to college in a STEM major” and to create an environment where “our students can be on either side of what we would call the business table. As employees or contractors, he said.

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