Starting in November, YouthQuest students at various sites have access to more than 50 online STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, course offerings through 21stCentEd.
“We are so happy to partner with this organization to give our students access to these offerings,” says Nefertari Jones, director of Afterschool Education at Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “Our staff are coming up with lesson plans around the offerings and students are able to access the courses at home, as well.”
Currently, multiple sites are working with the program to build out various lessons for students. At Pierce Elementary, students in fifth and sixth grades can follow along with basic modules that cover computer programming skills to get them acclimated with the software. According to Site Team Leader Danielle Williams, the program is easy to use, and students are having fun completing the activities.
21stCentEd offers courses in a variety of STEM-related fields including graphic design, drone photography, early robotics, computer programming, game design and development, entrepreneurialism, and financial and digital literacy. All courses can be accessed online, however, according to Daniel Bates, director of STEM initiatives for 21stCentEd, that is not where their partnership with YouthQuest ends.
“We are committed to creating an experience that builds upon interest,” says Bates. “Initially, we start with courses that align with what students are already learning. Then, we can build from there.”
21stCentEd aims to spread the message that the future of work is changing, and it is important to expose students to new and emerging careers so they can build a foundation of education to prepare them for that future.
Along with exposing students to new careers, 21stCentEd also offers certification prep courses in a variety of fields that high school students can explore at a self-paced level with exams that can help build their career portfolio.
YouthQuest is continuing to work with 21stCentEd to expand offerings to students. For more information about YouthQuest, visit YQuest.org.
YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.