Verizon has outlined some of the educational support it will provide to vulnerable communities through the Verizon Innovative Learning program as schools prepare for what will be another challenging year. The efforts are part of a broader $3 billion effort to help vulnerable communities running from last year to 2025.
The overall initiative is Citizen Verizon. The company says that by 2030 it will provide 10 million youths with digital skills training, prepare a half million people for future-oriented jobs and support 1 million small businesses with tools for the digital economy. The company also promises net zero operational emissions by 2035.
On August 23, Verizon will launch Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, which will scale Verizon Innovative Learning, the carrier’s “initiative addressing barriers to digital inclusion.” The program uses augmented reality and virtual reality for a variety of subjects. It includes professional development courses enabling “micro-credentials” from Digital Promise, a non-profit organization.
Verizon is expanding the Verizon Innovative Learning School program that supports students and teachers at Title 1 schools with technology, access, innovative learning programs and professional development. The program, which is run through Digital Promise, will add 246 schools from 50 districts across the county, almost doubling its size to reach 511 schools and almost 183,000 students.
Verizon also will open a 5G Verizon Innovative Learning Lab in Miami at the Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) Academy. It will provide artificial intelligence, 3D printing, AR and VR. Verizon plans to bring 5G to more than 100 Innovative Learning centers to more than 100 Innovative Learning Labs in Title 1 schools in the future.
In collaboration with Heart of America and the Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at Arizona State University, Verizon will launch 40 Verizon Innovative Learning Labs at Title 1 schools.
A new program – Verizon Community Forward – will seek to use community spaces for learning. The program will provide K-12 students with STEM education, adults with digital literacy training, and both high school students and adults with workforce development and entrepreneurship learning opportunities, Verizon says. Verizon Community Forward will launch in 10 in community centers in Portland, Pittsburgh, Houston and Cleveland through next year.
“Digital inclusion was an important objective before the pandemic, and an area we’ve been investing in for years, but we’ve all learned now just how important it really is to achieve,” Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon’s Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, said in a press release.
“We’re continuing to provide tech-fueled strategies to empower educators to help build the next generation of innovators who will continue to move our world forward.” Last November, Verizon introduced the Teacher Training Pathway development platform and expanded the Verizon Innovative Learning program to help Title 1 schools deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.