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article imageGoogle pledges major STEM investment

By Tim Sandle     Apr 18, 2018 in Science
Kitchener - Google is to investment over $2 million into one of Canada’s emerging super-cluster technology areas. The focus will be on developing STEM projects and skills. Part of the funding is demarcated for youth projects.
The subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are regarded by many as essential for future technological and economic growth. Problems exist in persuading sufficient numbers of students to study these subjects. This is especially so with female students (as Digital Journal has discussed with the article “Why it’s important to redress gender STEM balance”).
Support for STEM subjects has received support from the technology giant Google, to the tune of $2.1 million funding for the new Google Waterloo Community Space, located in the Kitchener-Waterloo region of Canada.
The aim of the community space is to advance STEM education, innovation and digital skills. The Kitchener-Waterloo region is one of Canada’s technology super-clusters. The hub in Kitchener will offer local non-profits and other organizations free access to an event space, programming opportunities and co-working areas. The aim will be to encourage collaborative working and new product innovation.
A large portion of the funding will go towards Actua, which is Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization specializing in coding and digital skills programming. Here $1.5 million will be provided. Other monies are in the form of $400,000 for the University of Waterloo’s Women in Computer Science initiative; and $200,000 for Engineering Science Quest. Both of these investments are designed to foster programs focused on computational thinking and digital skills, targeted at Waterloo’s youth.
With the Engineering Science Quest, the finding will be used to create an experiential learning program in the Google Community Space. This will aid local youth in building computational thinking and digital skills. The space will also provide parents and teachers access to digital information and resources.
For the for Women in Computer Science project, the aim is help to narrow the gender disparity gap in technology. One mechanism for this is the Technovation Challenge, which is a global technology entrepreneurship competition targeted at girls ages 10-18.
Commenting on the initiative, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said: “We’re thrilled Google is opening a new Community Space next to its Kitchener-Waterloo office and investing $2.1M in funding for local STEM non-profits and schools. This is fantastic news for our city -- Google’s support will help us drive innovation and growth and find future tech leaders right here in the community.”
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