Ottawa-based TechU.me, a program that connects high-tech industry mentors with high school students, says it's looking for new partners to expand locally and nationally.
The Ottawa Network for Education, which manages TechU.me, has reached out to the provincial government, high-tech industry and education sector to secure $1.5 million, which it says it needs to "continue current programming and support its expansion to other cities, such as Waterloo, Ontario."
TechU.me launched in 2012. Since then, the program has expanded from four to 53 schools across all four school boards in Ottawa and paired 2,000 high school students with a classroom mentor from the local high tech sector as part of its flagship mentorship program. And high schools with a TechU.me presence have reported a 35% increase in the number of students enrolled in senior computer studies, computer science and communications technology courses, according to The Ottawa Network for Education.
"We are grateful to our industry and education partners as well as FedDev Ontario for their contribution to our success thus far," said Steven Evraire, Director, TechU.me. "We are hoping that others will see what great work we do and join us in reaching even more students in Ottawa and beyond."
National organizations, including the Canadian Advanced Technology Association, are promoting TechU's expansion to other cities in Canada. CATA calls it a "national best practice."
"The TechU.me program is a brilliant example of industry rolling up its sleeves to create the next generation of workers. With the success they've had, we believe this program should be expanding across the country to help raise awareness of technology careers with even more kids," says John Reid, CEO of CATA.
A report released this month by Let's Talk Science stated that 70% of Canada's top jobs require science, technology, engineering and math education, but that close to 50% of Canadian high school students drop STEM courses as soon as grade 10 mandatories are completed. The organization estimates this drop out rate costs Canada millions of dollars each year.