Washington Youth Academy to use innovative software to improve student STEM skills
The Washington Youth Academy has been selected to help launch an interactive education initiative to help meet the job market’s growing demand for employees with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.
The National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF) is partnering with global engineering and design firm Michael Baker International and EverFi, a leading education technology company in the effort. The new initiative provides STEM training resources to approximately 1,800 of Youth ChalleNGe Program participants across the country. The pilot phase begins at 14 locations and is underwritten by a donation from Michael Baker International.
“We are deeply committed to helping these young men and women find a pathway to success beyond graduation day and making sure they are ready to meet the growing demands of the workforce,” said Louis A. Cabrera, president of NGYF. “This initiative will expose ChalleNGe participants – many, for the first time – to career opportunities in the STEM field and will open doors for their futures. All of this is possible because Michael Baker International and EverFi recognize how important this cause is to these youth and our society.”
According to the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM index, the STEM job market in the United States has grown by more than 30 percent, from 12.8 million STEM jobs in 2000 to 16.8 million in 2013. ChalleNGe, which graduates 9,300 young men and women every year at 35 sites across the country, is a proven program for youth who are not succeeding in the traditional classroom setting.
The Radius-STEM Readiness course is a web-based program that uses online gaming and simulations to teach critical technology and coding skills, ignite interest in STEM, and expose students to STEM opportunities that they might never have dreamed were within their reach. The course features 16 modules that incorporate the real-world application of math and basic computer science skills in a secret-agent themed course. Engaging, interactive lessons focus on skill building and highlighting the career possibilities that a STEM education can unlock.
“We are dedicated to fostering the development and growth of the next generation of scientists, planners, architects and engineers, who are so vital to our country’s future” said Kurt Bergman, CEO of Michael Baker International. “This investment ensures that driven and hardworking young adults can pursue career paths they are passionate about. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the National Guard Youth Foundation and expanding the prevalence of STEM education opportunities across the nation.”
In addition to the Michael Baker International donation to launch the 14 pilot sites, the engineering firm and its leadership have donated more than $1 million over the last five years to support NGYF programs.
"EverFi is proud to bring our STEM education course to ChalleNGe participants," said EverFi Founder and CEO Tom Davidson. "Through our partnership with the National Guard Youth Foundation, this technology is reaching cadets and inspiring them to be the creators and innovators of tomorrow."
The program’s 14 pilot sites are located at:
- Alaska Military Youth Academy in Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska;
- Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Grays Knob, Kentucky;
- Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy in Ft. Knox, Kentucky;
- Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Laurel, Maryland;
- Ft. Gordon Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Ft. Gordon, Georgia;
- Camp Beauregard Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pineville, Louisiana;
- Freestate ChalleNGe Academy in Gunpowder, Maryland;
- Montana Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Dillon, Montana;
- Puerto Rico ChalleNGe Academy in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico;
- Commonwealth ChalleNGe Academy in Virginia Beach, Virginia;
- Washington Youth Academy in Bremerton, Washington;
- Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy in Kingwood, West Virginia;
- Texas ChalleNGe Academy in Sheffield, Texas; and
- South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Eastover, South Carolina.
The National Guard Youth Foundation is currently pursuing additional corporate partners to expand this curriculum to all 35 ChalleNGe programs across the country.