WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 20, 2017 – Boys & Girls Clubs of America is opening four new Centers of Innovation, in partnership with Raytheon Company. This marks 14 centers established to keep military youth on the path to great futures with science, technology, engineering, and math learning.
The new centers are:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Ariz., serving families of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
- Hale Pono (Ewa Beach) Clubhouse, Hawaii, serving families of US Army Garrison Hawaii, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Marine Corp Base Hawaii
- Hill Air Force Base Youth Program, Utah
- Kirtland Air Force Base Youth Program, NM
“Military families make tremendous sacrifices for our country, but those sacrifices should never include their children missing opportunities to explore the endless possibilities available to them,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We’re proud to offer a safe, familiar space for military youth across the country and abroad, and with these four new Centers of Innovation from Raytheon, we’ll be able to continue to build even more confidence and curiosity among these amazing kids to forge passions in STEM that will positively impact their future.”
The Centers of Innovation are funded through Raytheon’s $5 million, multi-year commitment to BGCA, part of the company’s $10 million pledge to support military families and veterans.
In 2016, thousands of military-connected teens engaged with interactive modules and hands-on STEM activities at 10 existing Centers of Innovation across the United States and abroad. Each location has 3-D printers, robotics workshops and high-definition video production and conferencing equipment.
These activities use real-world applications to help youth develop STEM skills and critical thinking outside of the classroom, in an effort to help develop the next generation workforce. Over the last decade, STEM-related jobs have grown at three times the rate of other jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Through these Centers of Innovation, we want military children to be able to experience science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a supportive, hands-on environment,” said Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy. “It is our hope that the centers will inspire them toward rewarding careers and help secure the next generation of engineers and scientists our nation needs to continue its technology and innovation leadership.”
As you know, on average in the U.S., military families move six to nine times before their children graduate high school – about three times more often than civilian families – which typically results in an inconsistent and disconnected education among our nation’s military youth. So, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in partnership with Raytheon have opened Centers of Innovation to bring a sense of continuity within the lives of children who may feel at a disadvantage.
There are 10 Centers of Innovation open to date with 4 more planned to open later this year. From Hawaii to Maryland and one abroad in Germany, each Center provides young people with access to advanced technology, like 3-D printers, robotics and flight simulators, and is designed to stimulate curiosity in STEM exploration. In 2016, more than 2,000 teens (1,500 of whom are from a military family) engaged with interactive learning modules within a Center of Innovation.
Through these Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Raytheon have sparked a framework to bridge the education gap among military children, offer a sense of continuity and adequately prepare them for future successes.
And as eight million jobs in the U.S. economy will require a college degree in STEM by 2018, it is important now more than ever for young people to forge passions within STEM. Please let me know if this is something you have interest in hearing about firsthand, as we can easily put you in touch with:
- STEM Specialist from a COI to discuss what topics excite youth most
- Student member to explore how the learning modules have impacted their life and community
- Experts from BGCA and Raytheon to discuss the importance of introducing youth to creative approaches to STEM
The four new centers join a network of nine Centers of Innovation located in the United States and one abroad:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego, serving families of Naval Base Point Loma, and Naval Base San Diego
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Springs, Colo., serving families of Peterson Air Force Base, Widefield School District and U.S. Air Force Academy Youth Program
- Eglin Air Force Base Youth Center, Fla.
- Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio, serving families of Joint Base San Antonio (Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, and Randolph Air Force Base)
- Join Base Andrews Youth Center, Md.
- Ramstein Air Base Youth Programs, Germany
- Boys & Girls Club of South County, Chula Vista, Calif., serving families of Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas, Killeen, Texas, serving families of Fort Hood
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntsville, Ala., serving the families of Redstone Arsenal
- Hartford County Boys & Girls Clubs, Aberdeen, Md., serving the families of the Aberdeen Proving Ground
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, 4,300 Clubs serve four million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
Raytheon Company, with 2016 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 95 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5ITM products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. Follow us on Twitter.