Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner and musician, tech entrepreneur and philanthropist will.i.am have jointly announced a new effort to expand STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education for students in underserved communities.
The district is seeking to build on the positive success the i.am Angel Foundation has achieved in Boyle Heights by serving 1,400 students during the past 11 years.
This summer, LAUSD and the Angel Foundation plan to offer STEM skill sets to more than 400 new robotics clubs from the district’s middle and high schools. They will be signing up as many as 12,000 students to participate when the school year starts in August.
“12,000 more students will have the opportunity to learn how to play a new team sport — building robots and competing alongside friends,” Beutner said. “STEAM education will provide students with hands-on learning opportunities and the knowledge needed to earn good-paying jobs in the technology industry.”
“I am grateful to will.i.am and the i.am Angel Foundation for investing in education and career pathways and I hope to continue providing opportunities like these to students in other underserved communities.” Board Member Mónica García said.
Created by will.i.am in 2009, the i.am Angel Foundation supports students living below the poverty line in his hometown neighborhood of Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles and beyond to provide access to after-school tutoring, STEAM courses, robotics clubs and computer coding classes.
“Every school has a basketball court and many have football fields, but only two businesses benefit from these skill sets, and it’s mostly for boys,” will.i.am said. “Football is great, but my niece will never play for the NFL. With robotics clubs, boys and girls can learn valuable STEM skills and how to work in teams — knowledge that helps secure college scholarships and, eventually, high-paying jobs.
“With FIRST Robotics, every child can be a winner in school, work and in life.”