Best Buy Intensifies Efforts to Help Underserved Youth Bridge the Nation’s Technology Gap

  • New Best Buy Teen Tech Centers in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles
    and Oakland will give teens access to technology year-round.
  • 10th-annual Geek Squad Academy program will offer 30 free summer
    camps with hands-on training to 6,000+ young people ages 10-18.
  • Grants to 16 national nonprofit partners will support a broad
    tech training curriculum for teens and families.
  • HUD ConnectHome participation will provide digital literacy
    training and connected devices to hundreds of families nationally.

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In the next 10 years, 77 percent of all jobs will require technology
skills.1 Yet despite incredible advances in technology to
help us connect and interact, more and more young people are being left
behind.2


Best Buy is intensifying efforts this year to confront the nation’s
growing technology gap through expanded programs and partnerships that
help underserved young people develop the skills for a tech-reliant
future.

“For 50 years, Best Buy has been a catalyst in the rise of technology as
a means to improve virtually every aspect of our lives,” said Susan Bass
Roberts, senior director of Community Relations, Diversity & Inclusion
at Best Buy. “We are committed to giving underserved youth access to the
tech training and tools they need to further their education and
careers. Together, we believe we can help nurture and inspire a new
generation of engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers, designers, artists and
dreamers.”

Best Buy Teen Tech Centers and Geek Squad Academy camps reach youth
where they live.

This spring, the Best Buy Teen Tech Center
network will achieve a milestone of one dozen urban locations when four
new centers begin offering year-round after-school programming. And from
May through September, more than 6,000 students will attend free Geek
Squad Academy
(GSA) two-day sessions in communities around the
country. Teen Tech Center and GSA curriculum encourages teens to explore
technology through immersive training in digital music and film
production, digital photography, coding, 3D design, robotics and more.

Following an open grant submission process, Best Buy has selected the Atlanta
Fulton Public Library System
in Atlanta; the Juanita
J. Craft Recreation Center
in Dallas; the P.F.
Bresee Foundation
in Los Angeles, and Alternatives
in Action
in Oakland, California, as partners for four new Best Buy
Teen Tech Centers. Opening this spring, they will join existing centers
in Chicago; Denver; Jersey City, New Jersey; Miami; Minneapolis; San
Antonio; Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Geek Squad Academy will kick off in Atlanta in May and include a total
of 30 camps. Since its inception in 2006, Geek Squad Academy has served
more than 25,000 teens through its summer program. The full 2016 summer
schedule will be announced in April.

Seven new national nonprofit partners receive grants this year.
Best
Buy makes grants to national nonprofit partners who provide educational
resources to foster success in a world filled with technology. This
year, Best Buy has partnered with seven new organizations, bringing its
national partnership total to 16. The new partners are:

  • BDPA
    Since 1986, the BDPA Student Information Technology Education
    & Scholarships (SITES) program has been a leader in technology- and
    STEM-based training. Through the years, the SITES program has
    introduced and provided advanced technology training to tens of
    thousands of students across the country through workshops, webinars
    and other activities.
  • Cyber
    Seniors
    – Cyber Seniors trains teens to teach technology to
    older adults to help bridge the generational technology gap and help
    expand both teens’ and seniors’ social networks.
  • DePaul
    University/Digital Youth Network
    – DePaul University’s Digital
    Youth Network (DYN) develops the people, tools, practices and
    infrastructure necessary to power equitable learning ecosystems that
    prepare all youth with the digital and computational
    experiences and tools necessary to question, change, design and build
    their worlds. As stewards of Chicago City of Learning, DYN has built a
    strong social and technical infrastructure designed to create
    equitable pathways to opportunities for all of Chicago’s youth.
  • EveryoneOn
    – EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit that aims to eliminate the
    digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet, computers and
    free digital literacy training accessible to all unconnected U.S.
    residents. EveryoneOn has connected almost 200,000 low-income
    households.
  • Games
    for Change
    – Founded in 2004, Games for Change (G4C) is the
    leading organization promoting games for social impact and learning. A
    NYC-based nonprofit, G4C incubates game projects, engages the public
    through events and arcades, engages professionals and youth through
    game design challenges, and provides platforms for the exchange of
    ideas and resources. G4C works with funders, content specialists,
    learning experts, and creative teams to create and distribute
    successful impact games.
  • Hispanic
    Heritage Foundation
    – Established by the White House in 1987,
    the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) inspires, prepares and connects
    Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet
    America’s priorities in areas including technology. HHF offers a
    continuum of programs, including the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards,
    Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT), Hispanic Heritage Awards and public
    awareness campaigns.
  • LRNG
    Working together with schools, city leaders, businesses and
    community institutions such as Boys & Girls Clubs, libraries and
    museums, LRNG is building an online platform of learning experiences
    that combines in-school, out-of-school, employer-based and online
    learning into a seamless network that is open and inviting to all
    youth. When students complete activities, they earn digital badges to
    use as credentials on their resumes and/or college/career applications.

Returning national partners include After-School
All-Stars
, Common
Sense Media
, Dreaming
Tree Foundation
, FIRST,
GRAMMY
Foundation
, Mouse,
Science
Buddies
, The
Clubhouse Network
and Youth
Radio
.

Hundreds of families will receive training via Best Buy’s HUD
ConnectHome participation.

Best Buy will continue to support
this new national
initiative
to help narrow the digital divide for children and
families living in HUD-assisted housing.

As part of the HUD partnership, Best Buy will provide free digital
literacy training and Geek Squad Academy courses to teens in public
housing in more than 20 cities. Teen Tech Centers will be used as
training and distribution locations for ConnectHome families receiving
devices and Internet services.

Best Buy will also provide digital literacy training and a Geek Squad
Academy at the Durant, Oklahoma-based Choctaw Nation, the only tribal
nation to participate in the ConnectHome program.

For more information about Best Buy’s 2016 community programs,
partnerships and tech education initiatives, click here.

1 IDC
Research

2 Pew
Research Center “Digital Divides 2015” Study

Contacts

Best Buy
Shandra Tollefson, 612-231-5146
press@bestbuy.com