SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adine Deford, Cynthia Dunlop, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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City of Philadelphia Selected as One of Seven US2020 City Competition for STEM Mentorship Winners

The City of Philadelphia was announced as one of seven winning cities in the US2020 City Competition, a national competition to encourage youth mentorship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at the White House Science Fair. A response to President Obama’s call to action, this program aims to increase the number of girls and boys engaged in STEM.

“I am proud that Philadelphia was selected as a winner in the US2020 City Competition, which recognized our innovative plan to engage a diverse group of young people in STEM,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Addressing our city’s STEM education challenge will require hard work, but our coalition of STEM leaders is looking forward to it. I want to encourage all STEM professionals and organizations, whether public, private, educational or non-profit, to use their talents to mentor the next generation of STEM learners.”

Sponsored by Cisco and launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, the US2020 City Competition challenged cities to develop innovative models for dramatically increasing the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects. US2020 is specifically focused on increasing STEM opportunities and STEM excitement for girls, underrepresented minorities and children from low-income families. Public/private coalitions from 52 cities across the nation applied, engaging nearly 600 companies and civic organizations.

Philadelphia’s US2020 Coalition, a group of 50 STEM partners, is led by Dr. Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer, Mayor’s Office of Education.

“We have brought together a strong coalition of 50 partners from colleges and universities, corporations and businesses, and research institutions to impart their collective knowledge and provide high impact STEM mentoring opportunities for Philadelphia youth” said Dr. Shorr. “I look forward to working closely with all of our partners and to growing Philadelphia’s US2020 Coalition. Exciting work is ahead of us.”

Philadelphia’s winning plan links local STEM professionals to Philadelphia youth in mentorship relationships, particularly female, low-income and minority youth. This plan will employ Philadelphia’s assets and resources – strong private sector partners, including Saint-Gobain, Microsoft, Dow Chemical, GSK, and IBM; the 8th largest region for STEM employment, totaling nearly 530,000 jobs; a regional network of more than 101 colleges and universities; STEM-related in-school and out-of-school time programs, coalitions and initiatives; and a deep commitment to STEM by the School District of Philadelphia.

“As Philadelphia’s lead partner in its STEM coalition, Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, is ready to address the nation’s STEM education challenge starting here in Philadelphia, our home since 1948,” said John Crowe, President and CEO, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations. “Our more than 800 employees in the Philadelphia region are committed to sharing their building science, engineering and math knowledge and technical expertise with youth through hands-on mentoring that will spur their interest in STEM careers. It is our belief that through mentorship, we can help youth develop a blueprint that will serve them well through life’s journeys and challenges.”

To launch their plans over the next year, winning cities will share $1 million in financial, consulting and staff support, including:

  • Communications consulting and training with Discovery Communications;
  • Funds to hire a local project manager;
  • Cohorts of capacity-building AmeriCorps VISTA members;
  • Access to US2020’s state-of the-art volunteer matching platform, built in partnership by Tata Consultancy Services;
  • Pro bono management consulting services; and
  • Membership in the US2020 community of practice.

To help engage communities in this STEM mentoring initiative, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), in partnership with US2020 and Citizen Schools, will make an investment of 29 AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers. Each winning city will receive VISTA staffers to act as capacity builders. Philadelphia will receive two VISTAs.

The other winning city coalitions, representing more than 200 companies and organizations, are Allentown, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; San Francisco, California; and Wichita, Kansas.

US2020 also announced new national partnerships with Chevron, Discovery Communications and the Department of Energy at the White House Science Fair. US2020’s founding partners, Cisco, Cognizant, Raytheon, SanDisk and Tata Consultancy Services will receive additional support from Discovery Communications, Fidelity Investments, HP, Salesforce, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

About US2020

US2020 is a new organization formed through a partnership of leading education non-profits and corporate leaders in the STEM field. The long-term goal of the initiative is to mobilize 1 million STEM mentors annually by the year 2020, creating millions of moments of discovery – those life changing events when children launch rockets, build robots, write a computer program, or look into the farthest reaches of the universe. US2020 relies on a committed and growing community of public, private, non-profit and individual partners.

About Cisco

Cisco is a founding partner of US2020 and the official sponsor of the US2020 City Competition. Cisco continues to build upon its two-decade long commitment to STEM education, supporting major programs to develop a robust pipeline of students interested in entering STEM fields. As part of its commitment to US2020, Cisco has pledged that 20% of its U.S. workforce will volunteer 20 hours or more in STEM mentoring by 2020.

About Saint-Gobain in North America

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, has its North American headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As the world leader in sustainable habitat, Saint-Gobain is committed to inventing solutions to help professionals and communities around the world build and renovate comfortable, healthy, economical and energy-efficient buildings. The company has more than 265 locations in North America and approximately 15,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $7.9 billion in 2013.

Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. For more information about Saint-Gobain in North America, visit www.saint-gobain-northamerica.com and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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