ATLANTA -- Joint Base Andrews has opened a Center of Innovation designed to inspire military children and teens to pursue education in science, technology, math and engineering - better known as the STEM subjects.
The center is one of 22 worldwide funded by a $5 million grant from Raytheon, a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. The center will provide military youth access to advanced technologies to stimulate creative approaches to STEM exploration, including:
- The Ultimate Robotics Experience in which Club members will learn to build and program their own robot.
- A 21st century invention kit that allows Club members to turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet.
- 3D printers, high-definition motorized drop screens and HDMI projectors to explore their creativity.
- And, a realistic and full-featured Flight Simulator so Club members can experience the thrills of flying right in their own classroom.
A full-time STEM expert will offer individual and group support, using real-world applications to help Youth Program participants develop their STEM skills and critical thinking. In the U.S., STEM jobs are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as those in any other field by 2018, according to The U.S. Department of Commerce.
"From skilled mentors in the field to hands-on interactive programs, Boys & Girls Clubs of America are committed to providing military kids and teens with the resources they need to explore the endless possibilities available to them, " said Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA. "Thanks to Raytheon's support, our six new Centers of Innovation will allow our military youth to discover an array of new passions and career paths related to STEM that they can pursue to achieve their great future."
Joint Base Andrews Youth Programs provide strong support for military children. On average, military families move six to nine times before their children graduate high school – about three times more often than civilian families. The Center of Innovation will provide a consistent learning environment to help military children make the most of opportunities to come in higher education, careers or military service.
On Friday, June 24, Joint Base Andrews will host a Center of Innovation grand opening event at the Andrew's Youth Programs Building at 4700 Yuma Road. Hosted by Boys & Girls Clubs of America CEO Jim Clark, and Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy, the event will include representatives from Joint Base Andrews, youth members and their parents. The event will kick-off at 3:00 p.m. with a special ribbon cutting ceremony led by Clark and Kennedy.
"Our members get the resources and tools they need to educate and explore new opportunities, especially in such a fast growing field like STEM," said Vincent Eure, 11th Force Support Squadron Youth Programs Director. "With this new Center of Innovation from Raytheon, we'll be able to provide our youth with the skills they need to achieve their goals, whether that is to pursue STEM-based careers or explore other opportunities."
As part of Raytheon's $10 million pledge to support military families and veterans, including its $5 million multi-year commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 22 Centers of Innovation will open at Clubs worldwide.
"Military families make tremendous sacrifices for our country, but those sacrifices should never include their children losing out on the chance to excel at science, technology, engineering and math," said Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy. "Through the Centers of Innovation, we are providing resources that will help military youth gain the skills they will need to be successful and make a positive impact on their community."
To date, five Center of Innovation locations in the United States and one abroad have been opened:
- Joint Base Andrews Youth Center, Md.
- Ramstein Air Base Youth Programs, Germany
- Boys & Girls Clubs of South County, Chula Vista, Calif., serving the families of Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas, Killeen, Tex., serving the families of Fort Hood
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntsville, Ala., serving the families of Redstone Arsenal
- Harford County Boys & Girls Clubs, Aberdeen, Md., serving the families of the Aberdeen Proving Ground
For 26 years Boys & Girls Clubs of America has partnered with every branch of the U.S. military and serves 480,000 school-age military youth around the world. Through the affiliated Youth Centers available on nearly every U.S. military installation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America aims to provide a steady presence in military children's lives.
OutlooK-12 Magazine covered the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 85 anniversary in our special first anniversary issue available here.