Best Buy announced today a campaign that will highlight teens from around the country who participate in the company’s Teen Tech Centers, a network of year-round programs designed to teach technology skills to youth living in underserved communities. This effort is part of a previously announced $20 million grant to the Best Buy Foundation to build out more than 60 of these centers and fund non-profit partners across the U.S., with the goal of aiding more than 1 million teens each year by 2020.
The awareness campaign focuses initially on three teens living in North Minneapolis, home to one of the country’s largest academic achievement gaps. Each of these teens wrote and stars in their own spoken word video intended to highlight their story and the skills they have learned since enrolling in their local Teen Tech Center. Directed by award-winning director A.V. Rockwell, the videos will appear across a range of owned and paid channels and represent the first time Best Buy has publicized its work with teens from underserved communities through Teen Tech Centers that will be operating in 60 cities by 2020.
“We believe it’s an important responsibility to help cultivate the next generation of inventors, engineers, developers, designers and entrepreneurs. When we support our young people, we also make a vital investment in the future of our communities, families, employees and business,” said Andrea Wood, head of social impact for Best Buy. “Our awareness campaign gives these inspiring teens the opportunity to share their stories, and highlights community efforts that we know our customers and employees care about.”
Best Buy has an ambitious goal to prepare 1 million youth annually for tech-reliant jobs by 2020. The company and its partners are making progress toward achieving this goal by:
- Giving youth a voice in first-ever public awareness campaign: Tez, Naje and Latrell, high school students who attend the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Hope Community Center in Minneapolis, share their experiences in videos as the centerpiece of a national paid media campaign launching this week. Each video tells a personal story of how these teens are pursuing music, photography and other dreams despite the challenges of living in communities that lack tech resources. A new site at Bestbuy.com/TeenTechCenter provides more information about the youth opportunity gap, the featured teens and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center effort.
- Opening more Best Buy Teen Tech Centers: By September, Best Buy will have 21 Teen Tech Centers open across the country to support young people with year-round tech tools, training and mentorship. These locations also provide post-high school career readiness and internship opportunities through a Career Pathways program. A recent survey of 234 teens from 11 Teen Tech Center locations affirmed that the sites motivate 80 percent of attendees to continue their education after high school graduation. By 2020, 60 centers will open across the U.S., Canada and Mexico to enable 20,000 teens annually to pursue their dreams through technology.
- Adding $20 million to community grants and program funding: Last February, Best Buy announced a one-time contribution of $20 million to the Best Buy Foundation to further expand youth support across the U.S. Since 1999, the Best Buy Foundation has donated more than $348 million to local and national non-profit organizations that provide educational resources to nurture success in a world filled with technology. By 2020, these grants will help nearly 800,000 youth annually. Best Buy also continues to expand its popular Geek Squad Academy (GSA) program to help teens learn about technology through hands-on robotics, coding and other tech training. Nearly 10,000 young people are attending 50 GSA camps throughout the U.S. this year.