Time Warner Cable today launched a new philanthropic initiative in conjunction with a White House plan to strengthen America’s economic competitiveness by improving education and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The company’s initiative, Connect a Million Minds (CAMM), is a five-year, $100 million program to address a declining proficiency in STEM that puts America’s children at risk of not competing successfully in a global economy. Using its media assets, Time Warner Cable will create awareness of the issue and inspire students by connecting them with hands-on, after-school opportunities to experience STEM in non-traditional ways.
Time Warner Cable will announce its STEM commitment at a White House event hosted by President Obama and attended by corporate and nonprofit leaders. The event will highlight the importance of public and private partnerships in addressing STEM readiness in American students.
“Lifting American students from the middle to the top of the pack in STEM achievement over the next decade will not be attained by government alone,” said President Obama. “I applaud the substantial commitments made today by the leaders of companies, universities, foundations, non-profits and organizations representing millions of scientists, engineers and teachers from across the country.”
Time Warner Cable Chairman, President and CEO Glenn Britt, who will join President Obama at the White House announcement, said, “We cannot let American students continue to fall behind in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Time Warner Cable is uniquely positioned to provide real solutions that get students excited about learning opportunities in these areas. Our research shows that there is an understanding of the importance of this issue, but also a lack of awareness of the learning opportunities available locally to children. We have two goals. One, we want to help parents understand the critical importance of their children’s math and science education to a successful future—their own and the country’s. And two, we want children to see that math and science can be fun through engaging, hands-on experiences. We hope that will inspire students to pursue higher education and careers in STEM fields, filling a critical but dwindling pipeline in America’s workforce.”
Anchoring the initiative is a unique website, www.connectamillionminds.com, using zip-code search to connect students to STEM learning opportunities in their communities. The website also challenges parents, after-school program administrators and community members to pledge to connect children in their lives with the wonders of science and math. Time Warner Cable has set a goal of connecting 1 million children by 2014. On the website, participants can watch video case studies of inventors and technologists talking about their projects, and post photos and narratives about their STEM experiences, creating a community of people who share a common interest and passion for scientific pursuits.
Initial users of the website included volunteer coordinators of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology), a non-profit organization that inspires young people to be science and technology leaders. “Very well done,” commented Myrle McLernon, a FIRST robotics mentor. “I am extremely pleased that Time Warner Cable is using its influence to create a positive force for our children. This program will make thinking and problem solving a mainstream process for all students.”
Connect A Million Minds has partnered with FIRST and the Coalition for Science After School (CSAS) to give the program national scope and local application. The program highlights FIRST robotics competitions around the country and encourages volunteers and mentors to support teams of young participants.
“The importance of repairing our fragile global economy, combating the effects of climate change, replacing fossil-fueled energy production, and addressing worldwide public health needs has never been more critical,” said Dean Kamen, inventor and chief executive officer of DEKA Research & Development and founder of FIRST. “But even as many scholars agree that improvements in science and technology are needed to meet these issues head on, the single most important challenge will be to produce the innovative, passionate scientists, engineers, and technicians who will show us the way. I wholeheartedly applaud Time Warner Cable and their efforts to help kids compete in the global economy and thank the corporation for allowing FIRST to be a part of this groundbreaking STEM initiative.”
CSAS is leading development of the national database of STEM activities and using its national presence and local partnerships to engage after-school STEM programs in the Time Warner Cable initiative.
“The Coalition for Science After School is delighted to be partnering with Time Warner Cable to advocate for high quality STEM opportunities for all kids,” said Dennis Bartels, Chair of the CSAS Executive Committee and Executive Director of the Exploratorium. “The creation of the national directory of after-school STEM is an important step in realizing our vision of increasing access and opportunities in STEM.”
Providing strategic counsel to Time Warner Cable is an advisory board of nationally recognized STEM experts, including Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance; Margaret Honey, Ph.D., President and CEO, New York Hall of Science; Dean Kamen, President and CEO, DEKA Research and Development and Founder, FIRST; and Joshua Schuler, Executive Director, Lamelson-MIT Program.
“We applaud Time Warner Cable for launching Connect a Million Minds,” Dr. Honey said. “CAMM is important because it highlights the significance of institutions like the New York Hall of Science, where we take science out of the textbook and make it come alive for students. We show students how they can use science to improve their lives, instilling an essential competency that schoolchildren need to be competitive and successful.”
In addition to the unique website, Time Warner Cable will use public service announcements and local community events to raise awareness of the need for better STEM education and more STEM resources.
Also to be announced at the White House event is the formation of a non-profit entity that will galvanize the American business community around STEM. Leading the effort will be Time Warner Cable’s Britt, Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, former astronaut Sally Ride and former INTEL CEO Craig Barrett. The Carnegie Foundation and The Gates Foundation also will provide support.
“We are grateful the Obama administration is focused on America’s need to increase its STEM proficiency, and believe this will have positive outcomes for technology-focused businesses like Time Warner Cable,” Britt said. “We have a need to fill the jobs pipeline with qualified engineers and technologists to continue our tradition of innovation in the telecommunications industry.”
The White House announcement is the culmination of more than 20 events launching CAMM in Time Warner Cable markets across the country. The events demonstrated the local opportunities available for STEM education and showcased local features that required STEM expertise to build or create. In New York City, for example, children built tabletop catapults. In Columbus, Ohio, children raced balls down three different types of inclines. In Milwaukee, more than 4,000 students and parents toured the Discovery World Museum.
About Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., with technologically advanced, well-clustered systems located in five geographic areas — New York State (including New York City), the Carolinas, Ohio, southern California (including Los Angeles) and Texas. Time Warner Cable serves more than 14 million customers who subscribe to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers a suite of phone, Internet, Ethernet and cable television services to businesses of all sizes. Time Warner Cable Media Sales, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions that are targeted and affordable. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at www.timewarnercable.com, www.twcbc.com and www.twcmediasales.com.