ATLANTA – November 22 – The United States faces increasing competition from heavily-populated countries whose billion-plus inhabitants contribute to their human capital and economic growth. A new act currently before Congress, America’s FOCUS Act, aims to support targeted educational initiatives that will increase the preparedness of American students and help enhance the nation’s competitive edge.
Sponsored by Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), America’s FOCUS (Fund for Future Opportunities and Outcomes in the U.S.) Act of 2013 will invest in three major priorities:
The act will authorize state and local governments, and the Secretary of Education, in conjunction with the Federal Mentoring Council and NASA’s Office of Education, to issue grants to non-profits with evidence-based programs in STEM and mentoring.
“All leaders in the youth development field applaud Congressman Fattah’s longtime commitment to strengthening America’s future competitiveness by investing in critical education initiatives today,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). “STEM education, coupled with youth mentoring, will make a dramatic impact in preparing today’s youth to enter the fields of science, technology and engineering, where unfortunately America is lagging behind many other nations. Twenty years from now the return on this investment will reflect the wisdom of the FOCUS Act and its visionary proponents.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of America has worked closely with Congressman Fattah on a number of STEM-related educational initiatives in recent years, including partnership agreements with FIRST and NASA. The partnership with FIRST provides opportunities for Club members to learn about robotics, forming teams and entering nationwide competitions. A recently-established agreement between BGCA and NASA will enable Clubs to provide STEM programs during after-school hours, when young people can explore the STEM disciplines in small group-based, hands-on learning activities and field trips.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaFor more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at www.bgca.org/facebook and www.bgca.org/twitter.
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