Verizon Joins PLTW as National Partner

INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2016) –  Verizon has joined Project Lead The Way (PLTW) in the highest level of partnership, PLTW announced Tuesday, becoming a national partner in empowering students with the in-demand knowledge and skills to thrive in our evolving world. Verizon joins the Kern Family Foundation, Chevron, Lockheed Martin and Autodesk in this mission. PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Vince Bertram, made the announcement at PLTW Summit 2016, the organization’s national conference that draws more than 1,800 PLTW teachers, educators, partners, and supporters.

“Providing students with access to high-quality computer science education is absolutely critical,” said PLTW President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Vince Bertram. “Verizon has been our most significant advocate and partner in this effort. Their continued commitment is admirable, and we are proud to announce Verizon as our 2016 PLTW Partner of the Year.”

Verizon first partnered with PLTW in 2014 for the pilot of the PLTW Introduction to Computer Science (ICS) course, providing technology and grants to deliver computer science curriculum to 12 middle schools. In the last two years, Verizon has invested an additional $5 million to significantly expand ICS to middle schools nationwide. Today, more than 160 middle schools across 31 states are offering ICS through the partnership. The schools range in location from New York to Hawaii, and from rural schools to those in our country’s largest urban districts, including Chicago Public Schools, Miami Dade and Clark County (Las Vegas) Public Schools. The one thing the schools all have in common is a large number of under-served students. The average free- and reduced-priced lunch population of the schools is 85 percent.

Since Verizon invested in PLTW, more than 10,000 students – 44 percent of whom are girls, and 52 percent of whom are from under-represented minority groups – have participated in ICS. More than 200 teachers have attended and completed ICS Core Training. Thirty percent of these teachers are teaching PLTW for the first time.

Verizon’s national partnership comes from a continued investment in ensuring that students have access to the computer science curriculum and skills they need to succeed in our rapidly advancing, technology-based economy. Over the course of the next two years, another 75 schools will have the opportunity to offer ICS through Verizon’s support, and an additional 20,000 students and 225 teachers will have access to computer science curriculum and training.

“We partnered with PLTW to create opportunities necessary to increase the numbers of women and minorities pursuing STEM degrees, because if we lack diversity among our STEM workers, we’re not just missing out on the numbers of people we need,” says Justina Nixon-Saintil. “We’re missing out on their unique vision, their ideas for innovation, and their solutions for the problems that only they know about.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 50 percent of the 2.8 million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018 will be for computer specialists[i] and cites a critical need in more than 180 industries for people who have skills and expertise in software development, cyber-security, information technology and computer support. The National Center for Education Statistics and National Science Foundation reports that women and underrepresented minority groups earn less than 36 percent the computer science bachelor’s degrees awarded each year in the U.S. 

ICS is a series of two nine-week courses created by PLTW that are designed to be the first computer science experience for students who are new to programming. Throughout the courses, students create apps for mobile devices using MIT App Inventor®, a site that teaches the fundamentals of app development and programming. Students gradually progress to more complex programming, including text-based programming in Python®. Other concepts students will cover include the impact of computing on society and the application of computing across career paths; digital citizenship and cybersecurity; and how to model, simulate and analyze data.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world, and provides teachers with the support and resources they need to devote more time to inspiring students. PLTW programs can be found in over 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit pltw.org.

The Verizon Foundation is focused on delivering the promise of a brighter future by using the company’s innovative technology to solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and sustainability. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 7.6 million hours of service supporting more than 28,000 organizations to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit www.verizon.com/about/responsi...; or for regular updates, visit Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfounda...) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving). 

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Media Contacts:

Jennifer Cahill
Project Lead The Way
(317) 669-0871
[email protected]

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Jessica Shih
Verizon
(908) 559-1741
[email protected]


   
[i]  President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report to The President: Engage to Excel, 2012.