Early on a bitterly cold Saturday in January 2006, 30 eager teens gathered in Minneapolis’ North High School gym to make the first computers they’d ever own.
A handful of Geek Squad Agents arrived with desktop components. They patiently explained the inner workings and possibilities of what they and the students would build together. By the end of the day, each of those proud teens had an invaluable learning tool to take home.
That event marked the beginning of a Best Buy movement to help underserved young people. It’s a commitment the company will substantially increase over the next three years. On Wednesday, Best Buy announced that by 2020 it will prepare 1 million youth per year for tech-reliant jobs through intensified training and career-readiness programs.
“Our next generation faces a future that puts them squarely in the middle of a technology revolution. Yet millions of these young people aren’t getting the support they deserve to make the most of their potential,” said Laura Bishop, Best Buy’s chief corporate responsibility and sustainability officer. “We’re committed to helping many more underserved youth pursue future careers through tech tools and training early on, along with the career-readiness skills that can help them realize their dreams.”
As part of its heightened commitment, Best Buy will make substantial investments in these efforts:
- Expanding its Teen Tech Center (TTC) locations fivefold, from 11 to more than 60 centers. The facilities will open across the U.S., Canada and Mexico over the next three years. This will enable nearly 20,000 teens annually to experience technology in year-round, after-school programming.
- Providing 2,000 young people with post-high school career-readiness help each year. This will include internship opportunities and career mentorship through a new Best Buy Career Pathways program. All 60 Best Buy Teen Tech Centers will have this program in place by 2020.
- Increasing Best Buy Foundation grants to reach nearly 800,000 youth annually by 2020. Since 1999, the Best Buy Foundation has donated more than $333 million in grants to local and national nonprofit partners who provide educational resources to nurture success in a world filled with technology. In addition, Best Buy will continue to expand outreach through its popular Geek Squad Academy program. Geek Squad Academy helps thousands of teens learn about technology through hands-on robotics, coding and other tech training.
Addressing job-readiness gap
Technology has advanced well beyond those cumbersome desktop computers built in that Minneapolis gym years ago. But the challenge facing our young people is greater than ever.
Best Buy’s accelerated multimillion-dollar commitment comes as the United States faces a rapidly rising shortage of qualified workers for tech-dependent jobs. Community-based job readiness resources are on the decline, as well.
Learn more about how Best Buy is confronting this issue at https://corporate.bestbuy.com/community-relations-overview/.