YouthForce NOLA Awarded $4M for STEM Prep
NEW ORLEANS – YouthForce NOLA said it has been awarded a nearly $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare New Orleans public high school students for careers in computer science and the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industries.
“Training in high school helps level the playing field and create more equitable outcomes for our public school students. It allows young people from economically disadvantaged households to consider, early on, the careers they might like to pursue, and it gives them a roadmap and access to the tools they need to succeed,” said Cate Swinburn, the president of YouthForce NOLA, a nonprofit that partners with schools, employers, training providers, and community organizations to open doors to economic opportunity for New Orleans public school students.
The new grant program will complement and strengthen YouthForceNOLA’s existing work to provide students with the skills, networks, and experiences needed to pursue high-wage careers in the region’s fastest-growing industries.
Over the next decade, the Greater New Orleans economy will need to fill 78,000 STEM jobs in skilled trades, applied sciences, and technology, according to GNO Inc. To help prepare young people for these jobs, the new federally funded program will allow students to participate in computer science courses during the school day that are offered by YouthForce NOLA’s training provider partners: Operation Spark and Spark Mindset. Students in these courses will earn credits toward industry based credentials, which are certifications that confirm individuals have mastered the critical skills necessary to be effective employees.