The Urban Youth Racing School — the locally-based initiative founded in 1998 by sports marketer Anthony Martin and supported by NASCAR and Sprint — has teamed with the U.S. Navy NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command) to improve the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) levels for urban, college-bound students.
The two parties have created the Urban STEM Academy Center of Excellence, a state-of-the-art building and related programs designed to answer President Barack Obama’s call that America refocus on STEM advancement, especially among high school and college students.
The two entities will hold a joint program presentation in Saturday, September 8 at 11 a.m. at the Marine Barracks and Parade Grounds on Broad Street in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
According to the racing school, the new USA Center for Excellence will engage students in STEM-related careers and pipelines them into college programs for degrees in STEM fields. The center will also collaborate with various government agencies, schools, churches and various groups of other stakeholders in crafting and growing the initiative.
United States Navy NAVSEA Commander Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy will join Integrated Systems Director Jimmy D. Smith in making keynote addresses during the presentation. Mayor Michael Nutter, Congressman Bob Brady and State Senator LeAnna Washington are scheduled to appear.
Coupled with Obama’s recent executive order focusing on education among African-American youth and the fact that only 1.3 percent of high school minority graduates go on to earn STEM-related degrees, the importance of such an initiative is paramount.
Aside from this new initiative, the Urban Youth Racing School offers four other distinct programs: The Build-A-Dream program, which exposes grade-school students to STEM-related programs in an automobile industry setting; Naval Engine Design, geared toward students with an interest in a naval career; Driver Team Development, which serves as the next step for graduates of the Build-A-Dream program, and the advanced, year-long Driver Team Development program, for students who also complete the Build-A-Dream program and show a passion for a career in motor sports.
“When there’s a big job to be done, it’s hard to think of a better partner than the United States Navy. We are very excited to be working with Vice Admiral Kevin McCoy and Integrated Warfare Systems Director Jimmy D. Smith on the Urban STEM Academy initiative,” said Martin, who also serves as executive director of the racing school. “Our missions are so compellingly synergistic. The inner-city youth we have been training and mentoring are precisely the recruits the US Navy needs to step up as current active personnel are concluding their careers in the service.”