NI (NASDAQ: NATI) announced its collaboration with Thinkery and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) to jointly develop Collaboration to Realize Equity and Teach Engineering (C.R.E.A.T.E.), a program to inspire and prepare a diverse pipeline of future engineers involved in BGCAA through afterschool engineering programs, youth development programming and family engagement. NI is currently the sole funder of this engineering in STEM program and will give $800,000 over the next four years to Thinkery and BGCAA in support of it.
C.R.E.A.T.E.’s fun yet structured curriculum is designed to engage underserved and underrepresented youth in engineering and STEM in tangible, meaningful ways. Through hands-on and play-based activities, BGCAA youth will ask, research, imagine, plan, create, test and improve, becoming proficient in all the fundamentals of the Engineering Design Process, in small-group learning sessions, culminating in a rewarding experience at Thinkery.
“Our partnership with NI and Thinkery has expanded to bring high-quality programs and curriculum to the Austin area youth we serve. The significance of this gift over the course of several years will have a huge impact on providing the resources and tools Austin area youth need in STEM education,” said Misti Potter, chief executive officer of BGCAA. “It will further our mission to promote on-time graduation and prepare students for their future college and professional careers.”
“We are excited to partner with NI and BGCAA to provide innovative learning experiences to Austin’s underrepresented youth,” said Andy Bell, chief executive officer of Thinkery. “Learning should be fun, which the C.R.E.A.T.E. program will provide through hands-on, interactive engineering design experiences.”
NI is committed to investing $3.4 million globally over the next four years in STEM education initiatives that serve underrepresented or economically disadvantaged students. The first two grantees, announced in February 2021, were Code2College and Project Lead the Way.
“The city of Austin is vibrant and diverse, and its engineering workforce needs to reflect that,” said Tabitha Upshaw, senior director of brand, reputation, and impact at NI and executive sponsor of C.R.E.A.T.E. “A lot of work has been done over the years to diversify the engineering pipeline, but we have a long way to go. We are thrilled to collaborate with Thinkery and BGCAA to tackle this issue as they both serve Austin youth in effective, impactful ways.”
Thinkery brings strong research-backed, hands-on program experience to C.R.E.A.T.E., and BGCAA has expansive community reach, serving 16,000 youth annually.
“This collaboration is a powerful example of ‘creating a collective,’ in which nonprofit organizations work together to make a greater impact,” Upshaw said. “We are excited to see C.R.E.A.T.E. come to fruition and help move the needle on diversifying the engineering pipeline here in Austin.”
This news follows NI’s recent launch of its 10-year corporate impact strategy, Engineering Hope, focused on three pillars with ambitious goals attached to each: changing the faces of engineering, building an equitable and thriving society and engineering a healthy planet. In addition to changing the faces of engineering, C.R.E.A.T.E. will build an equitable and thriving society by employing paid high-school counselors and providing underserved students with the skills needed for highly paid engineering jobs.
C.R.E.A.T.E. plans to kick off a pilot program during the 2021–2022 school year with elementary-aged youth. C.R.E.A.T.E. will formally launch at full scale during the 2022–2023 school year.