The 21st Century Youth Project (21CYP) teaches advanced technology as a path to opportunity. It is a free comprehensive afterschool program that prepares low-income middle and high school students for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) careers. The program focuses on improving skills Today (through teaching and tutoring), Tomorrow (through coaching and mentoring), and the Future (through internship placement), with an entrepreneurial focus. Key deliverables for student participants are creation of mobile apps for (Google Android, iPhone, iPad etc.), accompanying business plans, accrual of college credits and case studies on their resumes and portfolios because of hands-on tangible skills gained through internship placements.
21CYP harnesses students’ natural enthusiasm for technology, shows them how they can become the designers of the future, while delivering foundational skills in STEM curricula. 21CYP has multiple levels of involvement, not only training students in business, technology, and math, but more importantly, developing their critical thinking, entrepreneurial skills and self-confidence.
The 21st Century Youth Project was inspired by the ideas outlined in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” specifically the concept that “success is a matter of perfect placement, timing and training”.
The 21st Century Youth Project has had a remarkable positive impact on our local Chicago communities. Subsequently, we have also been featured on CNN, in magazines and has won a Gold award in education’s Best New Product in the Edison Awards by a
selection panel that consisted of around 3,000 professionals, academics and specialists.