Creating IT Futures began work on its joint social innovation venture with CompTIA on the NextUp campaign by reviewing current initiatives, which target middle school children in the U.S., that we can augment by including CompTIA members and certified alumni as mentors. We have selected three organizations as pilot partners and developed plans to hit the ground running in this first quarter. All have programs that work with middle school youth, but with different emphases, delivery methods and support needs:
- TechGirlz, headquartered in Philadelphia, focuses on middle school girls in an effort to reduce the gender gap in IT fields. TechGirlz has developed several short tech exposure projects for workshops and has posted all the necessary info for others to conduct, calling the program Techshopz In a Box. This has allowed the organization to greatly expand its reach to other cities.
We will help them work with Chicago area students by opening and staffing a branch there, as well as working with our female CompTIA members and alumni as facilitators and coaches. We will meet with Techgirlz management later this month to fully lay out the plan for this year.
- FUSE is a research-based program, developed by the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, as a set of challenges focusing on STEAM topics for teens and pre-teens, using their interests (students select their own project) and a level-up gaming model. It is a great way to build confidence for those who on the surface don’t think they’re good at/or interested in math or science.
We will bring in our CompTIA members and alumni, as well as our own IT staff, to brainstorm and develop three additional tech challenges to augment their existing challenges in robotics, mobile app development, and more. Then we’ll help them deliver those new challenges to students in their local schools.
In addition, NextUp and CompTIA are funding 21 new FUSE Studios at schools around the country. Schools and school districts can apply for free start-up funding by going here.
- We also will bring in our local members and alumni to serve as facilitators for a new Mid-Winter Break Science Camp being held by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) from February 21-24, 2017 for middle school youth. Volunteers can sign up with Joan Matz or learn more here.