CLEVELAND — It’s the big question: What do you want to be when you grow up? For many children, the question is filled with promise. But for those in under-served communities, the question often results in silence.
As the lead corporate sponsor of NeoSTEM Ecosystem’s DreamSTEM initiative, Verizon wants to help children answer the question with enthusiasm.
NeoSTEM Ecosystem has launched DreamSTEM, a collaborative initiative geared to raise individual and community awareness of the many STEM careers in northeast Ohio, and develop comprehensive, accessible pathways to them.
“Verizon is committed to preparing America’s workforce to fill tomorrow’s critical roles as part of Citizen Verizon, our responsible business plan” said Jessica Cohen, Manager of State Government Affairs for Verizon. “But to do so, young Clevelanders need to be able to see themselves in those roles. DreamSTEM will create that vision for thousands of children in Cleveland.”
Conceived by NeoSTEM thought leaders and stakeholders, DreamSTEM will serve as the umbrella program for a variety of connected initiatives, including:
- An awareness-building campaign to elevate the importance of STEM through billboards, social media, neighborhood telephone poles, fliers displayed at corner shops and grocery stores, and more.
- A website with resources for STEM pathways and mentorship programs.
- A STEM mentorship program partnering with the Marconi Society and Case Western Reserve University.
- Career pathways from pre-K to college with specific, tangible and comprehensive in-school and out-of-school curricula for select careers.
Research shows a positive STEM identity strongly influences a child’s decision to pursue STEM education and related careers. In fact, no matter how exciting a learning experience might be, if students can’t envision themselves in future STEM career roles, they will be far less likely to pursue them. DreamSTEM offsets that imbalance by providing students crucial encouragement and resources to help them identify STEM career opportunities early in their education, and pursue those careers in northeast Ohio.
“We are thrilled that Verizon will be partnering with us for NeoSTEM,” said Alyssa Lenhoff-Briggs, director of NeoSTEM. “Verizon’s dedication to ensuring that the digital world is more accessible aligns so perfectly with DreamSTEM, and we’re excited for how the partnership will grow.”
DreamSTEM’s design team is hard at work developing a comprehensive strategy to create this important program, and NeoSTEM partners are establishing a schedule to implement the program with a target launch of early September.