CFEF and AT&T ‘STEM@Work’ Connecting Classroom Curriculum to Real World for Florida Students this School Year

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AT&T is working with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations for this school year to provide hands-on opportunities for students to experience real-world applications of STEM education concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Members of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory worked with Leon County STEM Club students to compete in the annual Elementary School STEM Bowl.

To provide a critical link from classroom to careers, AT&T is once again partnering with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) this school year to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in school districts across Florida. Real-world application of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills will all be key elements of the 47 separate projects to be organized and funded through CFEF member local education foundations.

With each “STEM@Work” project involving local workplace partners, a primary goal of the program is to help students connect classroom curriculum to STEM careers. Hands-on learning opportunities can provide the critical link of relevance for students and answer the age-old student question of “When am I ever going to use this?” while increasing their awareness and interest in STEM careers.

An array of subject matter and related careers are included this year, depending on the local workplace partners involved in each community. The fields of agriculture, robotics, computer programming, medical manufacturing, city planning, aviation, aeronautics, hydroponics, mobile application development, environmental science, entomology, chemistry, and more will be explored by students through various projects.

Each qualifying project will receive $2,000 to cover costs beyond what limited school budgets provide, including transportation, materials and equipment. With this sixth year of funding, AT&T Florida has provided more than $600,000 for the statewide initiative.

“We know that industries engaged in STEM disciplines will create a majority of high-value, high-wage jobs and within ten years, almost nine out of ten new jobs will require education beyond a high school degree,” said Joe York, AT&T Florida President. “We are pleased to make this contribution because Florida’s K-12 education foundations are well positioned to be the link between schools and local businesses for students, enabling them to build connections with potential employers in their communities, get a sense of what careers they offer and the skill sets they require.”

Two additional CFEF partners have followed AT&T’s lead to provide similar programs with local impact throughout Florida. The Motorola Solutions Foundation is funding 11 larger-scale projects through a competitive grant process. CenturyLink is funding 25 projects in their “Teachers and Technology Grant” initiative providing training and needed equipment to enhance digital learning in the classroom.

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About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2010, more than $148.2 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.

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About the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF):

The CFEF is the membership organization for Florida’s school district-wide local education foundations. Established in 1987, the CFEF seeks to advance student achievement in Florida by increasing private sector investment and involvement in public education. The CFEF now has 61 member foundations with 1,100 business and community leaders serving as volunteer board members. Collectively, they raise more than $45 million annually to support students, teachers and schools through a variety of programs. The CFEF has provided more than $30 million to local education foundations since 2001 through various private- and public-sector partnerships, including the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program.

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