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Tackling the Digital Divide. . . and S&T Worker Preparedness

January 28, 2000

The National Academy Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit organization, and President Clinton have announced the selection of 12 public high schools to pilot the Academy of Information Technology program. The program is intended to prepare predominantly at-risk high school students for careers in information technology fields. The program will provide a ninth-through-twelfth-grade curriculum with opportunities to partner with community colleges, universities, and businesses. The 12 schools were selected from among nearly 100 applicants. The pilot sites were chosen for demonstrating leadership and flexibility; a commitment to career education; an ability to secure mentors, internships, and teacher training from local business partners; and a baseline of technological capabilities that will be enhanced through NAF program grants. The schools are located in: Yonkers, New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Prince George's County, Maryland; Baltimore, Maryland; Waco, Texas; San Jose, California; Chula Vista, California; Broward County, Florida; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Omaha, Nebraska; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Seattle, Washington. More information may be found at: http://www.naf-education.org/clinton.html

Legislation has been introduced in Nebraska to provide $1 million in matching funds for a school-to-career program and $500,000 for a mentoring initiative. The mentoring initiative would be run through the Nebraska Education Department while the school-to-career program would be administered by the Department of Economic Development. Governor Mike Johanns said the programs were a preventative investment to help children avoid entering the juvenile justice system. Copies of the mentoring and school-to-career bills (LB 1160 and LB 1162, respectively) may be viewed at: http://www.unicam.state.ne.us/newbill.htm

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has created the Gates Millennium Scholarships, a pledge to commit $1 billion toward full college scholarships for minority students in the fields of education, math, science, and engineering. The United Negro College Fund administers the program in partnership with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the American Indian College Fund. More information is available at: http://www.gmsp.org/