By Press Release Submitted to Published Feb 04, 2015 at 1:00 PM

MILWAUKEE – Students at three schools in Milwaukee will soon launch new STEM programs with support from Verizon.

Bruce-Guadalupe Community School – part of the United Community Center, Escuela Verde (part of the TransCenter for Youth) and Washington High School of Information Technology have each been awarded a $20,000 Verizon Innovative Learning Grant.

They are three of 80 public schools across the country to receive a grant this year as part of Verizon’s investment to help provide teachers with the resources they need to use technology effectively to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.

Bruce-Guadalupe Community School (BGCS) will use the grant money for its Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Gateway To Technology (GTT) program, which benefits 267 students from grades 6 through 8. The program facilitates a project-based curriculum that teaches the application of science, technology, engineering and math to solve complex problems in a real-world context. BGCS plans to expand the program to include classes in automation, robotics and green architecture.

Washington High School of Information Technology is one of two schools involved in the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board’s JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) program, which targets students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school with services resulting in high school graduation, GED or HSED. The grant money will be used to help students create a mobile application – from the concepting stages to actual development.

Escuela Verde will use the grant money for its Field Research Team program, which, through a unique partnership with the Urban Ecology Center, works with citizen science staff developing research goals that will enhance learning and impact the community. The Field Research Team will study the quality of water in the Menomonee River and monitor bat populations in the Menomonee River Valley. The program will also include off-site visits to the Wisconsin River to compare findings, which will then be presented to the public. Students will incorporate scientific tools that sync with their tablets, thereby expanding their capabilities.

"We created this program to support the integration of innovative STEM initiatives in schools across the country, and we are pleased to recognize the three schools that have been chosen to receive the award in Wisconsin," Brian Pascoe, region president of Verizon Wireless, said. "The proposals submitted by these schools exemplifies the type of initiatives that will provide exposure to students around STEM fields, and also offer students hands-on project-based learning opportunities that will help increase their interest and achievement in STEM."

The significant demand for STEM-educated workers has been well documented in recent years, and a 2014 report found that the STEM job market is even larger than had been reported previously.

The Verizon Innovate Learning Grants program is part of Verizon’s commitment to the Obama administration’s ConnectED initiative, under which Verizon is providing up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions to drive student achievement, especially in STEM subjects.

To view a list of schools that received Verizon Innovate Learning Grants, click here.