Grant to Fund Summer STEM Programs for Austin Housing Authority Residents

Austin, TX – June 4, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Austin Pathways, a nonprofit organization that supports Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) programming, was recently awarded a grant from the Central Texas Summer STEM Funding Collaborative in partnership with Skillpoint Alliance, that will provide 125 families with an innovative summer science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pilot program for young people living in public housing. The camps will run July 6 through Aug 21.

“Austin Pathways is always looking for new, innovative ways to help our families succeed,” said Austin Pathways / HACA Executive Vice President Sylvia Blanco. “This STEM grant will provide educational benefits long after the camps conclude and hopefully will drive some aspiring students into the technology field.”

Elementary students age 6 to 12 years old residing in six HACA communities: Booker T. Washington, Georgian Manor, Northgate, Rosewood, Santa Rita and Shadowbend, will be elegible to participate. STEM educators will deliver four computer science camps – with an emphasis on coding, tinkering and using micro-controller boards – as well as four camps focused on designing, building and racing a solar racecar. The latter will promote environmental science, civil engineering, computer design and energy science.

The pilot program will offer professional development in STEM education by providing eight high-school students residing in HACA communities an opportunity to participate in STEM education and leadership training and co-facilitate the STEM youth camps. Additionally, families who participate in the program will earn free refurbished devices, ranging from desktop computers provided to Austin Pathways by Austin Community College, to laptops or tablets.

“Thanks to the support of the Summer STEM Collaborative, Skillpoint and HACA will expose more than 100 students to STEM career pathways with hands-on coding, programming, graphic design, aquaponics, forensics, robotics, solar energy and engineering, as their tools of discovery to remain engaged during the slow summer months,” said Amanda Longtain, director of programs at Skillpoint Alliance. “We are very eager to showcase that persistence and curiosity can lead to long-term success.”

The KDK-Harman Foundation began its Central Texas Summer STEM Funding Collaborative in 2011 with a goal of combating summer learning loss in local economically disadvantaged children. The Summer STEM Grant Program also aims to provide opportunities for students to engage in STEM practices and activities to lay the groundwork for building a STEM worker pipeline.

The Central Texas Summer STEM Funding Collaborative is made up of these participating funders: the KDK-Harman Foundation, the KLE Foundation, the RGK Foundation, the Webber Family Foundation, the Austin Community Foundation, the Andy Roddick Foundation, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Entrepreneur’s Foundation, Intel, Central Texas Discover Engineering, and the Texas Girls Collaborative.

About Austin Pathways: Austin Pathways is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the education and general welfare of low-income Austinites who live in the 18 public housing communities owned and operated by HACA and those who participate in its Housing Choice Voucher program. Austin Pathways supports scholarships, youth academic enrichment, workforce development, and health and wellness initiatives. For more information, visit austinpathways.org.

About HACA: The Housing Authority of the City of Austin is a public agency whose mission is to cultivate sustainable affordable housing communities and partnerships that inspire self reliance, growth and optimism. For more information, visit www.hacanet.org, or find us on Twitter @hacanet.

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