The latest edition of Social Innovations Journal, “Social Innovations to Advance Social Mobility Models in Urban Cities” features an article contributed by JEVS’s Youth Services Team highlighting JEVS’s new TechServ Scholars program and its role in bridging the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) divide in high poverty communities and in building an on-ramp to good jobs in STEM.
The JEVS AmeriCorps TechServ Scholars program launched in August 2017 with a cohort of 20 remarkable young adults. The program emerged as JEVS practitioners grappled with the following daunting and essential question: How can we effectively engage disconnected young adults (Opportunity Youth) in high-poverty regions, connect them with career pathways in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and also address core community education and talent development needs?
This multi-part question came from our efforts to connect youth to living wage career pathways in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. We continually faced the staggering social trends plaguing our region: nationally, record-breaking poverty rates; high youth unemployment; and challenged education systems, giving rise to “STEM Deserts” — areas where residents have lower access to STEM programs and resources. At the same time, we see a growth in STEM occupations in our cities, deemed high growth and high potential by area experts (“Driving Tech Talent,” 2017).
The Social Innovations Journal seeks to serve as a platform to highlight regional innovations and enterprises across the country to catalyze the process of inspiration, leading to improved social services and products. Although its scope is regional innovation, the Journal is available internationally as an on-line publication.