The GE Foundation has partnered with FHI 360’s subsidiary FHI Partners to launch Next Engineers — a 10-year global college-readiness initiative designed to increase the diversity of young people in engineering — in four locations: Cincinnati, Ohio; Greenville, South Carolina; Staffordshire, UK; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Engineers are critical to building a world that works, but diverse populations are woefully underrepresented in the field,” said Linda Boff, Vice President of GE and President of the GE Foundation. “GE employs thousands of engineers worldwide, and we are committed to providing the resources that will inspire the next generation of engineers and innovators.”
The $100 million program plans to reach more than 85,000 students in 25 cities around the world over the next decade. In each location, community partners will work with engineers from local GE teams to implement the initiative, while FHI 360 will provide training and technical assistance both virtually and in person. FHI 360 has begun to onboard community partners — which include two universities, a career readiness organization and an engineering education organization — in the inaugural cities.
FHI 360 brings the significant domestic and international experience necessary to work in a wide variety of contexts, as well as expertise in education and youth development projects. Its global education programs operate in a range of international contexts, including fragile and post-conflict areas, providing localized solutions to support youth development and growth. For 30 years, it has led the Bridge to Employment program, which builds the college and career readiness skills of disadvantaged high school students and provides STEM education.
“At FHI 360, we believe in a world where young people of all backgrounds can access the education and opportunities they need to realize their dreams,” said Tessie San Martin, Chief Executive Officer of FHI 360. “We know from research that early exposure and encouragement are key to attracting students to careers in engineering. We are thrilled to partner with GE Foundation to inspire the next generation of engineers.”
Through Next Engineers, students ages 13 to 18 will gain hands-on experience with engineering design thinking and career opportunities. To guide students along the path to engineering careers, the initiative will engage youth through three core programs:
- Discovery (ages 13 to 14) — Youth will learn what engineers do through exploratory activities and demonstrations delivered by GE volunteers.
- Camp (ages 14 to 15) — Students will spend a week immersed in the engineering process as they work alongside engineering educators and business leaders to complete design challenges inspired by real-world scenarios.
- Academy (ages 15 to 18) — Future engineers will spend more than 80 hours per year outside of school learning to think like engineers, preparing for higher education and developing critical skills, including design thinking, problem-solving and collaboration. Next Engineers will provide scholarships to students who complete the academy and are accepted into an engineering program at an institution of higher education.
To learn more about how Next Engineers is inspiring the next generation, visit NextEngineers.org.
Photo credit: SDI Productions/Getty Images