A standing room only audience of 220 parents, students and influential civic, educational, political, business and religious leaders turned out to hear Vice-Admiral Kevin McCoy highlight the expanded NAVSEA Systems Command initiative with the Urban STEM Academy, for the official program presentation ceremony held on Saturday, September 8, 2012 from 11:00 am at the Philadelphia Naval Base.
Speakers and special guests include: Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy, NAVSEA commander; Mr. Jimmy D. Smith, from the U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems; State Senator LeAnna Washington, UYRS Founder Anthony Martin and Board Chairman Jim Farmer.
The presentation was greeted enthusiastically by the audience there to support the expansion of educational and future career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math related fields for urban students in Philadelphia and cities across the country.
Moving forward with the NAVSEA Command partnership, the UYRS and the associated WHAT IT TAKES Foundation will continue to operate under the overall umbrella of the Urban STEM Academy.
“Over the years our mission has continued to expand but whether in racing or career mentoring, our objectives have always focused on our students developing solid technical and professional skills and credentials,” says Anthony Martin. “This commitment by the US Navy just steps our mission up into a bigger and more challenging and exciting arena. That’s what attracts students to our programs.”
The Challenge: Maintaining The Competitive Edge
The US is facing a serious challenge to its historic competitive and strategic leadership around the world, due to an alarming decline in the number American college students choosing majors in STEM related fields.
With inadequate emphasis in primary and secondary schools, and ever growing and increasingly rigorous demands for STEM skills in private sector, government and military career growth fields, this trend is a formula for disaster.
The situation is even more acute among minorities in urban communities, where only about 1.3 percent of high school graduates go on to earn the science, engineering and math degrees needed to pursue careers in today’s technology driven environment.
“When there’s a big job to be done, it’s hard to think of better partner than the United States Navy,” says Anthony Martin Founder and Executive Director of UYRS, which has expanded its STEM focused program in recent years to include broader hands-on technical training, personal development and mentoring.
“We are very excited to be working with Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy and Integrated Warfare Systems Director Jimmy D. Smith on the Urban Stem Academy initiative. Our missions are so compellingly synergistic. The inner city youth we have been training and mentoring are precisely the recruits the US Navy needs to step up as current active personnel are concluding their careers in the service, ” says Martin.
According to Vice Admiral McCoy the relationship is a two-way street. “Expanding this partnership will align NAVSEA’s efforts to engage a more diverse student population, their families and their communities by introducing them to the range of opportunities and benefits offered by the Navy,” said Vice Admiral McCoy. “It also gives us the ability to support existing STEM programs in our target markets for students engagement and outreach.”
Over the last 15 years, the success of the UYRS Build A Dream Program, preparing inner city students for career opportunities in professional motor sports, has gained worldwide media attention. The UYRS innovative experiential learning approach to STEM education has been featured by CBS Good Morning America, CNN, USA Today, Associated Press, ESPN, NASCAR.com, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and literally thousands of other media outlets.