LARGO, Fla. – Students in the Pinellas Education Foundation’s Next Generation Tech program will benefit from a statewide investment by AT&T this year, one that seeks to increase understanding of how classroom curriculum translates into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.
To provide a critical link from classroom to careers, AT&T is once again partnering with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in school districts across Florida. Real-world application of STEM education concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills will all be key elements of the 47 separate projects to be organized and funded through CFEF member local education foundations, including the Pinellas Education Foundation.
Students who participate in the Next Generation Tech program learn hands-on skills as they focus on developing an innovative solution to a challenge they have personally identified or experienced. This program incorporates a model that uses business/industry partners to mentor and instruct students over the course of the school year. The first prize award is $10,000, and members of the winning team may use the money for scholarships or to launch their business based technology enhancements, apps or innovations. Next Generation Tech features a series of workshops with a custom-designed curriculum that teaches students about the product development lifecycle and the variety of skills and teamwork approach that is an industry standard.
“We know that industries engaged in STEM disciplines will create a majority of high-value, high-wage jobs and within ten years, almost nine out of ten new jobs will require education beyond a high school degree,” said Joe York, AT&T Florida President. “We are pleased to make this contribution because Florida’s K-12 education foundations are well positioned to be the link between schools and local businesses for students, enabling them to build connections with potential employers in their communities, get a sense of what careers they offer and the skill sets they require.”
Another CFEF contributor has followed AT&T’s lead to provide a similar STEM program with local impact throughout Florida. The Motorola Solutions Foundation is funding nine larger-scale projects through a competitive grant process.
About The Pinellas Education Foundation
The Pinellas Education Foundation is an independent, non-governmental not-for-profit established in 1986. The Foundation’s mission is to accelerate educational achievement for ALL students through the effective mobilization of innovation, relationships and resources. Well known Pinellas Education Foundation programs include: Enterprise Village, Finance Park, Future Plans, Take Stock in Children Scholarships, Youth Connect and Fund A Classroom Grants.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse®and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising.
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About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2010, more than $148.2 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.
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About the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF):
The CFEF is the membership organization for Florida’s school district-wide local education foundations. Established in 1987, the CFEF seeks to advance student achievement in Florida by increasing private sector investment and involvement in public education. The CFEF now has 64 member foundations with 1,100 business and community leaders serving as volunteer board members. Collectively, they raise more than $63 million annually to support students, teachers and schools through a variety of programs. The CFEF has provided more than $44 million to local education foundations since 2001 through various private- and public-sector partnerships, including the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program.