Schaumburg, Ill. (PRWEB) September 9, 2008
The Motorola Foundation today announced the recipients of its 2008 Innovation Generation grants, which provide $4 million to 92 K-12 education programs across the country. The grants support sustainable solutions that strengthen the U.S. position in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by cultivating a workforce of critical thinkers.
"We've reached a threshold in our global competitiveness in math and science where the need to spark and sustain students' interest in these critical skills is paramount," said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation. "Building a diverse pipeline of critical thinkers, skilled scientists and engineers is a by-product of our efforts that not only will benefit Motorola and our industry, but it also will support a sustainable workforce and bolster the country's competitive advantage in the knowledge-based, global economy."
Motorola has provided more than $20 million in funding since 2005 to enable students to invent and learn as part of hands-on, interactive after-school programs, science and math clubs, camps and mentoring programs. The Foundation's focus on STEM education in the U.S. directly addresses obstacles to student achievement by engaging young people -- particularly girls and under-represented minorities -- in the practical applications of the concepts engineers and technologists employ every day at Motorola.
The latest research shows that jobs requiring science, engineering or technical training will increase 24 percent between 2004 and 2014 to 6.3 million.(1) The disparity between the growing demand for critical thinkers and the country's ability to adequately prepare students to fill these jobs has been widening for decades. The most recent global survey of 15-year-olds' academic performance in science shows 24 percent of U.S. students surveyed at the lowest level of performance -- below the level at which students begin to demonstrate the ability to successfully participate in the workforce.(2) The lack of skilled graduates in these fields poses a significant threat to sustained U.S. competitiveness in the knowledge-intensive, global economy.
Furthermore, diversity in these academic fields is lagging. In May, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering announced the results of a study funded by the Motorola Foundation that found African Americans, Latinos and American Indians continue to be under-represented in STEM disciplines.
"Diverse viewpoints don't just affect the way companies design and develop products. They are a competitive advantage for U.S. businesses," said Sweeney. "We want to do everything possible to make technology accessible and relevant for all kids -- regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic background -- so that they develop a passion for problem-solving."
Of 2008 Innovation Generation grantees, 43 percent target African-American students, 23 percent serve Hispanics and 35 percent engage girls specifically. Examples of this year's grant recipients include:
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) in Albuquerque, N.M. -- The AISES National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair and Expo inspires American Indian and Alaska Native students from all 50 states to pursue their interest in science and engineering through in-person and virtual presentations of research, access to role models and mentors, and hands-on demonstrations of scientific and engineering innovations across industries.
- Edheads in Columbus, Ohio -- A highly interactive website for middle school girls interested in engineering design will be used nationally by schools and after-school programs.
- El Valor Corporation in Chicago -- Go! Team engages Latina girls in Chicago's Pilsen and South Chicago communities in the field of environmental science by engaging them with new media, including blogs and e-journals.
- Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y. -- TechGirlz weeklong camp for girls who are deaf and hard-of-hearing and entering seventh, eighth or ninth grades fosters their long-term interest in STEM and enhances their awareness of the opportunities available to them in these academic disciplines in higher education.
- Science Festival Foundation in New York -- The annual World Science Festival, which makes the universe of science accessible and exciting through a broad spectrum of novel, creative and carefully produced events in New York City, will deliver a digital learning environment to make the Festival's innovative science programming available for student audiences everywhere.
- University of Central Florida Research Foundation, Inc. in Orlando, Fla. -- My Sports Pulse engages Florida middle school and high school students in a youth mobile learning initiative that imparts science and technology concepts through interactive sports games and tests.
"Support from the Motorola Foundation is enabling us to not only GET minority middle school and high school youth -- particularly girls -- interested in science, but to KEEP them interested through personalized experiences with scientists. Furthermore, we know that interest in science among eighth graders is a better indicator than test scores for predicting future career choices," said Gabrielle Lyon, cofounder and executive director of Project Exploration. "We look forward to partnering with Motorola and the Innovation Generation network of STEM champions toward our common mission of supporting opportunities, student achievement and inspiration in STEM subjects."
To see a full list of grantee recipients or to learn more about Motorola's Innovation Generation grant program, please visit Motorola Foundation online.
1 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- as cited in U.S. Department of Education Feb. 2006 report "Strengthening Education: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World."
2 According to the Program for International Student Assessment 2006, a triennial survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
About the Motorola Foundation
The Motorola Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola. With employees located around the globe, Motorola seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships, fostering innovation and engaging stakeholders. The Motorola Foundation focuses its funding on education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information, on Motorola Corporate and Foundation giving, visit Motorola Foundation online.
MOTOROLA and the Stylized M Logo are registered in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. © Motorola, Inc. 2008. All rights reserved.