One of the most difficult aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is trying to figure out how the education system can best work for students, especially students who may not access to consistent internet service, or equipment at home to do distance learning. The federal, state, and local governments have all tried to create a good learning environment, but significant challenges have arisen, especially in places like New York City, where there is so much income disparity, and people are really struggling. Verizon has decided to support remote learning using several methods, including donating hotspots, the creation of grant programs, and other initiatives.
Anthony Lewis, Region Vice President of State Government Affairs at Verizon spoke on this funding commitment:
The hotspot donation, our commitment to work with local non-profits to benefit students, and the expansion of our Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative further demonstrate our commitment to Verizon’s home city. Our students need connectivity to enable learning from home, and we are proud to step up and be part of the solution.”
Hotspot donation for students
To begin with, Verizon will donate over 20,000 mobile hotspots to students who face barriers to internet and technology access in NYC Department of Education (DOE) schools. This will ensure that students who are struggling due to a technology gap even have a chance of being able to keep up and participate in learning. When students all over New York City are struggling to even connect to the internet, hotspots would help those who lack access.
Nonprofit grants to support STEM education
Due to ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic Verizon will be awarding grants to support STEM education in NYC. Over 15,000 students will have access to various skill studies and opportunities including:
- 3D design and virtual reality tools,
- Mentorship opportunities
- Programming on digital literacy,
- Game design coding,
- Social justice in-class activities
Verizon’s continued commitment to Digital Inclusion
These grants and hotspot donations are not the only things that Verizon is doing to help benefit students in the NYC school system. Verizon has pledged to help close the gap for students and has committed to digital inclusion on a larger scale. Since 2012, Verizon has taken several steps towards this goal including:
- Invested 535 million to provide 450,000 students across the country with connectivity, technology, and an immersive STEM curriculum
- Gave access to all k-12 educators to Teacher Training Pathways, a free platform offering courses to help teachers best teach technology-integrated education
- Gave students access to the STEM EDUCATION CENTER which gives students access to a variety of courses to help them learn more technology-related skills
Hopefully, there will be an increased investment into STEM disciplines for students and teachers, so that they can keep up with our changing world and economy. Increased access to STEM education is crucial to prepare students for future careers and additional studies in STEM fields, which will ensure that the United States has a prepared, diverse workforce working on projects for the future.