Everyone talks about the lack of diversity in tech but when it comes to taking actionable steps to nurture a more inclusive landscape, Verizon is putting their money where their mouth is. In an ongoing effort to introduce more minority males into the Silicon Valley ecosystem, the telecom conglomerate is sending thousands of middle school age minority boys to college campuses this summer, for hands-on STEM workshops to take tech courses and learn tech fundamentals, adopt mentors, and gain valuable lessons in entrepreneurship.
Launched in 2015, The Verizon Innovative Learning program boasts partnerships with 16 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving Institutions. On Monday Verizon announced that Tennessee State University, Florida International University, California State University, and Dillard University will be joining the program's roster. This expansion is in lock step with the #weneedmore hashtag campaign outlined on the program's website, "#weneedmorekids to see the world of possibilities waiting for them."
With over 2,000 students participants to date, participants in the Verizon Innovative Learning program learn to develop mobile apps, create flying drones, 3D design, and develop virtual reality experiences. At the end of the program, the Verizon Foundation invites the top 100 performing students to San Francisco to participate in a conference where they are given the opportunity to network with industry professionals, hear from dynamic speakers, and participate in experiential activities at the Verizon Innovation Center, Lucasfilm, Levi’s Stadium and Auto Desk.
Okay, Verizon. We can definitely hear you now.