ETR Associates Gets National Science Foundation Grant to Support Students in Technology Education

ETR Associates announces a new three-year $925,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue its work with Latino youth with the Supporting Students in Technology Education/Animando a Estudiantes con Technología (AET) program. The program, which begins in Fall of 2009, is a joint partnership with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District's Extended Learning Program and the Educational Partnership Center (EPC) at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

AET is an after-school technology education program designed to build educational and career pathways to support higher education and careers in information technology (IT) among underserved and under-represented youth. The program will serve elementary, middle and high school students in the predominantly Latino Pajaro Valley Unified School District. AET features programs such as Tech Teach, Girl Game Company, Guy Game Company and the EPC's Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program. In these programs, youth have the opportunity to learn basic IT skills, build their own original digital games, increase their math skills, learn engineering concepts, enter IT- and engineering-focused competitions, and teach IT and engineering skills to younger peers. When not engaged in the after-school programs, participants will stay connected to the AET community of IT learners through online activities. Middle school and high school youth will have the opportunity to work with virtual mentors---IT professionals who will serve as role models and resources to help youth pursue interests, education and careers in IT.

Latinos and rural populations are under-represented in advanced IT careers in an increasingly IT-focused workforce. Existing classes, programs and activities often fail to build on each other, and sometimes compete with each other and with other types of programs, such as athletics, for students' time and attention. In addition, parents are an underutilized resource and a critical factor in students' decisions to pursue IT. To address these needs, AET brings together programs from different providers to create IT education opportunities that span elementary, middle and high school. AET also engages parents to create a support network to help youth enter college and pursue careers in IT and engineering.

Founded in 1981, ETR Associates is a private, nonprofit agency in Santa Cruz County, California, whose mission is to enhance the well-being of individuals, families and communities by providing leadership, educational resources, training and research in health promotion. With over 140 highly trained and experienced staff members, ETR Associates provides quality products and services to thousands of local, state, and federal organizations. In 2008, ETR launched the Center for Youth Success to promote positive youth-development approaches to help at-risk youth experience positive outcomes in the areas of connection, inspiration, education, career and physical/mental health to achieve success.

For more information on the Supporting Students in Technology Education/Animando a Estudiantes con Technología program, please contact:

Jill Denner, Senior Research Associate, 831-438-4060 x264,

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