FT. LAUDERDALE, FL. – FHP Manufacturing — a Bosch Group — presented grants from the Bosch Community Fund (BCF) today totaling $50,000 to three local organizations that are supporting children as they learn more about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related subjects. Local organizations submitted applications for the grants and the recipients were selected by an eightmember team of Bosch Thermotechnology associates.
“Bosch is very excited to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, Florida Atlantic University and Miami-Dade College North Campus, because they are taking active steps in helping young people understand that science, technology, engineering and math can not only be fun topics to learn, they can lead to rewarding careers with good-paying salaries,” said Jerry Smith, vice president of manufacturing at Bosch’s FHP Manufacturing plant.
Smith said that these organizations and the important work they do will help close the growing gap in the U.S., where STEM-related careers are projected to grow, but there are not enough students expressing an interest in pursuing them: “Between 2008 and 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce predicts there will be 17% growth in STEM-related employment as compared to less than 10% in other areas,” Smith said. “In a recent survey by Junior Achievement, only 30% of teenage boys polled – and even fewer teenage girls – 16% – expressed interest in STEM fields. In addition, minority groups continue to be underrepresented.”
Smith also noted that “of the 32% of the students taking the ACT who said they were interested in pursuing these fields, only about half demonstrated proficiency in these subjects. Clearly, there is a need to address these gaps, and we must do so with children at a very young age and continue to nurture their interest and talents throughout the educational process.”
“The quality and creativity of the submissions for grants was excellent, and it was challenging to narrow the field to the three that were selected,” Smith said. Awardees are:
- The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County: Grant of $19,400 to support the Boys and Girls Club’s Robotics Exploratory Program. This grant will provide at-risk youth, ages 10 to 14 years old, with an engaging, hands-on STEM program that explores robotics at the beginner level. Club members, who attend Title I schools (schools that receive federal funding from the Department of Education because the majority of students are from lowincome backgrounds) in Broward County, will be encouraged to participate in the program, which runs from Jan. 11, 2014, to Dec. 20, 2014.
- Florida Atlantic University: The $15,000 grant supports the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science’s ESP, a dual-enrollment program in engineering and computer science for high school students in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The summer program takes place on the FAU Boca Raton campus and engages students in challenging educational STEM activities that are currently not available in high school. The program enables students to explore engineering and computer science as future career choices.
- Miami Dade College North Campus: The $15,600 grant will support the establishment of a robotics initiative at Miami Dade College North Campus. This initiative will include developing a classroom curriculum for robotics courses, expanding an existing robotics summer camp for high school students, pairing the Robotics Summer Camp with other STEM courses offered to high school students through dual enrollment, and blending the robotics initiative with other STEM courses across campuses.