The learning ecosystem for after-school programs often is limited to those who can afford to pay for programs that focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Increasingly, career trends and statistics in these disciplines show few people of color in America who are adequately prepared to make contributions to the fields. This is especially true of boys. Strong and commendable efforts tend toward girls—which YEDF applauds and will include boys and girls in its after school program. YEDF intends to change the face of the STEM population entering college by offering high-quality STEM learning experiences in after-school programs to enhance the lessons offered during regular school hours in the public school setting.
YEDF is conscious of the opportunities for entrepreneurship especially in the area of technology when adequate preparation through education and training is provided. We are passionate about encouraging and preparing young boys and girls to take courses that will position them to become inventors, business owners, and leaders in a burgeoning global society. This is the YEDF purpose that fuels its commitment to identify and serve students in socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
It is clear that entrepreneurship requires a multi-disciplined focus. Having only the appropriate subject-matter expertise would be limiting without the business acumen required to compete in the market place. YEDF plans to take an holistic approach in preparing the youth. In addition to introductory sessions on the “E” in STEM, we will hold sessions on character-development, business management, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and entrepreneurship. Many of these sessions will invite parents to participate so that lessons learned can be reinforced at home.
This plan presents an interim step in an ongoing strategic planning and implementation process. It is a plan that, when fully implemented, over the next four years (YEDF2023) will result in increased numbers of African-American youth prepared to enter college and choose disciplines in or related to STEM.