Independence Community College and Fab Lab ICC Bring New Technology Program Aimed at Middle School Girls 

The Verizon Innovative Learning Program Will Introduce Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, Entrepreneurship and More to Prepare Girls for the Tech Careers of the Future

This summer, Independence Community College and Fab Lab ICC will join Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, to introduce more girls, especially those in rural parts of the country, to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

Launched in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the 2-year program was piloted last summer at five community colleges and will expand to 16 community colleges, engaging over 1,500 students.

Kicking off this summer with a three-week intensive learning experience July 16-August 3, 100 girls from middle schools across southeast Kansas will attend courses at Independence Community College’s West Campus in augmented and virtual reality, coding, 3D design, entrepreneurship and design thinking principles. Following the summer, the students will participate in monthly sessions throughout the academic year where they will develop a technology solution for a community problem that aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focus areas of the SDGs include poverty reduction, quality education, good health and well-being, climate action, peace and justice or gender equality.

   “The Verizon Innovative Learning program is a tremendous opportunity for us to engage and inspire our area youth,” said Jim Correll, director of Independence Community College’s Fab Lab ICC. “We look forward to providing our campers with exposure to innovation on many levels and piquing their interest in STEM-related, entrepreneurial pursuits.”

  The camp and monthly workshops are free to all girls attending. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided, as well as as-needed transportation to and from the camp. Girls interested in attending may apply online at www.nacce.com/stem4girls.

Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM careers, where a staggering 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer professionals are men. The percentage of women in STEM careers has not improved since 2001, specifically within the engineering (12 percent) and computing (26 percent) workforces.1 As a member organization of more than 300 community colleges across the country, NACCE is dedicated to supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in local communities. 

Verizon Innovative Learning gives free technology, free access and innovative curricula to students impacted by the digital divide to help them realize a brighter future. To date, Verizon has invested $200 million in this initiative and has reached more than one million students.  Learn more at www.VerizonInnovativeLearning.com.

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