PHILADELPHIA--(December 4, 2019) – The University City Science Center has announced a collaboration with Crown Castle, the nation’s largest provider of shared communications infrastructure, to bring a telecommunications curriculum to high school students through the Science Center’s nationally recognized STEM education program, FirstHand. Through this program partnership, Crown Castle is sharing its expertise and insight into 21st century technology in addition to providing a grant award to support the curriculum development.
The partnership with FirstHand is a part of Crown Castle’s Connected by Good initiative for corporate giving and employee volunteering. Connected by Good works with community partners to improve spaces where people connect, promote public safety, and in this case, advance access to education and technology.
FirstHand offers free year-round, project-based learning in partnership with local schools and community organizations, designed to provide skills-based career exposure. The FirstHand Lab’s 3675 Market Street location is a connector for students from surrounding neighborhoods to the thriving entrepreneurial and innovation system in Greater Philadelphia, and provides a real-world lab experience for the more than 400 students participating in programming annually.
“As reported in a 2018 study by Accenture, the wireless industry supports 4.7M in jobs; our curriculum with FirstHand will expose students to the wide range of roles and career opportunities available within this growing industry for the next generation of workers,” says St. Martin Torrence, Government Affairs Manager, East Area for Crown Castle. “We’re excited to launch this partnership with University City Science Center and to continue its spirit of innovation and technology through education and hands-on learning.”
The curriculum, which will be developed by FirstHand staff and local Crown Castle employees, will educate students on the communications infrastructure needed to provide reliable and efficient wireless service, with a specific focus on fiber and small cells. Students will examine how the two work together to create communication networks across the city, and explore the challenges of small cell deployment and fiber installation through a series of hands-on activities and interaction with local industry professionals.
“Exposing students to the essential technology that keeps our cell phones functioning, while having an inside look into the skills needed in its installation, will create the tools and competitive advantage needed for young adults and underrepresented communities to thrive in an evolving and innovative workforce,” says David Clayton, the Science Center’s Director of FirstHand.
The new curriculum is expected to be launched in January 2020. Crown Castle employees and other community partners will join Science Center staff in the FirstHand Lab to deliver the classes, serve as mentors and “touchpoints” to guide the students during the challenge, and serve as “judges” in the capstone final presentations.
About the Science Center
Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 55+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, Science Center-supported companies account for one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. For more information about the Science Center, go to www.sciencecenter.org
About Crown Castle
Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 75,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major U.S. market. This nationwide portfolio of communications infrastructure connects cities and communities to essential data, technology and wireless service - bringing information, ideas and innovations to the people and businesses that need them. For more information on Crown Castle, please visit www.crowncastle.com.