Via News Release
“MINNEAPOLIS — More of the nation’s underserved teens will have access to free technology tools and training as Best Buy today announces plans to add nine new Best Buy Teen Tech Centers to its year-round support network in 2017. The announcement was made just as the company officially opens its newest Teen Tech Center in Denver, Colorado today.”
The expanded network of 20 Teen Tech Centers will provide tech education to thousands of students, with special priority for new centers to be located in urban cities such as Las Vegas and Pittsburgh. Plans are already underway to open centers in early 2017 in Atlanta and San Diego.
In the coming decade, 77 percent of all jobs will require technology skills.1 Yet wide disparities still exist among youth from lower-income families who lack tools like computers and internet connections, or know how to use them, creating an opportunity gap for urban teens.
“These community centers will provide underserved young people with the technology tools and education that enable them to pursue new career paths for a tech-reliant future,” said Laura Bishop, vice president of public affairs and sustainability at Best Buy. “With help from our community partners, we can inspire teens to become innovators and creators, and forever change the course of their lives for the better.”
Best Buy Teen Tech Centers provide opportunity for young people needing it most
For more than a decade, Best Buy has provided access to tech tools and training for hundreds of thousands of low-income youth through community grants and partnerships with local nonprofits to host the free, year-round facilities and summer camps. Teen Tech Centers, which launched in 2012, help students learn basic computer skills and explore interests through classes that are neither taught nor required in many traditional school settings. Classes range from programming to coding, application development, digital photography, music and graphic design.
Devonte Gooding, a 20-year-old Teen Tech Center alumnus from Washington, D.C., advanced his photography skills during his time at a local center and it forever changed his future. “My time at Best Buy’s Teen Tech Center inspired me to go after a career I never thought possible,” Gooding said. After a chance meeting with a government official at an art auction that sold one of his photos, he now holds the first-ever photo internship with the U.S. Department of Energy and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
In a recent study of students who participated in Teen Tech Centers, 92 percent believe they will use the skills acquired in their future careers, and 94 percent plan to continue their education post-high school.2
The growing national network of Teen Tech Centers relies on local nonprofit partners who understand the unique challenges that youth in urban areas face. Best Buy is seeking organizations passionate about helping youth develop skills needed in a tech-reliant future as they navigate education and career choices. Organizations are invited to find out more about hosting a Best Buy Teen Tech Center by visiting theclubhousenetwork.org/bestbuy.
Best Buy taps Geek Squad Agents to create new curriculum
As technology evolves, so do the requirements for advancing career potential. Best Buy’s Geek Squad Agents ensure underserved youth stay ahead of trends by employing new curricula each year that align with passions like digital filmmaking, 3D design, HTML coding and circuitry, and others.
For example, in 2017, a new pixel art curriculum will be introduced across all Teen Tech Centers. Teens will learn how to create original pixel art and animation, beginning with the design of a character. The basic principles of coding are inherently part of this curriculum, providing teens with skills that lay the foundation for a variety of careers.
About Best Buy Community Relations
Since 1995, Best Buy has invested nearly $300 million in the communities it serves. In the past five years, the company concentrated its focus on giving support to programs that leverage technology to inspire and engage underserved teens, and to help them prepare for college and careers. This commitment to addressing the opportunity gap among underserved youth is exemplified through programs such as Geek Squad Academy and 11 Best Buy Teen Tech Centers now operating in Bellevue, Washington; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Jersey City, New Jersey; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Oakland; San Antonio; and Washington, D.C.