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Helping to Bridge the Nation’s Digital Divide in 2016

Despite incredible advances in technology to help Americans connect, interact and learn, more and more young people are being left behind as the digital divide persists.

Youth from underserved communities and lower-income families often lack access to tech tools like computers and Internet connections — along with training in how to use them. This creates a very real challenge for preparing the next generation of talent our country needs to compete and succeed in a global economy.

Best Buy is intensifying efforts this year to confront the technology gap through expanded programs that help underserved young people develop the skills they need to be successful in school and in their future careers.

Two of Best Buy’s hallmark community relations programs are celebrating milestones in 2016. The Best Buy Teen Tech Center network will grow to one dozen locations, and Geek Squad Academy (GSA) will celebrate its 10th year of providing free tech training camps to youth across America.

Teen Tech Center and GSA programs aim to narrow the digital divide by encouraging teens to explore technology through immersive training in digital music and film production, digital photography, coding, 3D design, robotics and more.

Teen Tech Center Network Expansion

Four new Teen Tech Centers will open their doors to serve local youth later this spring and summer.

Following an open grant submission process, Best Buy has selected the Atlanta Fulton Public Library System in Atlanta; the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center in Dallas; the P.F. Bresee Foundation in Los Angeles, and Alternatives in Action in Oakland, California, as partners. They join existing centers in Chicago; Denver; Jersey City, New Jersey; Miami; Minneapolis; San Antonio; Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Teen Tech Centers operate year-round and offer free after-school programs where teens can work with new technology, collaborate with one another and explore future educational and career opportunities.

10th Anniversary of Geek Squad Academy

More than 6,000 students will attend camps during GSA’s 10th season. The first will kick off in Atlanta in May. The summer series will include a total of 30 camps that will conclude in September. Since its inception in 2006, more than 25,000 teens have participated in the summer program. The full 2016 summer schedule will be announced in April.

GSA provides underserved youth access to immersive tech training camps. Best Buy partners with local nonprofits and other organizations to expose students ages 10 to18 to the latest technology in a fun, interactive setting through the two-day sessions. Local Geek Squad Agents and Best Buy Blue Shirts teach the interactive, hands-on curriculum at local community centers and schools.
For more information about Best Buy’s 2016 community programs, partnerships and tech education initiatives, click here.