CompTIA Partners with FUSE at Northwestern U to Expand STEAM Education in 21 Schools

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is partnering with the FUSE program at Northwestern University to expand STEAM learning for middle and high school students around the country.

CompTIA’s NextUp initiative is designed to interest teens in tech careers through partnerships and mentorships.

“NextUp is centered on youth engagement — getting teens to interact with technology and the IT pros that create it,” said Charles Eaton, executive vice president, social innovation, at CompTIA, in a statement. “We’re looking forward to partnering with FUSE with their nationwide reach into schools. Beyond an investment to expand FUSE’s footprint in schools, we’re also recruiting our members and IT pros to work with FUSE and their participating students.”

FUSE is a STEAM education program that facilitates student exploration and learning through hands-on, interest-driven challenges inspired by real-world STEM and design practices. In FUSE, student work in a studio-like environment, learn though making and develop 21st century skills such as problem solving, persistence and communication.

“The opportunity to draw on CompTIA’s talented and committed pool of potential mentors will also allow us to realize one of the long-standing goals of the FUSE approach — bringing kids into direct contact with professionals doing leading edge work out in the world,” said Reed Stevens, FUSE founder and director as well as a professor of learning sciences at Northwestern, in a statement.

Funded by CompTIA and managed by Creating IT Futures, NextUp will work with FUSE on three levels:

  1. Challenge development: The partners will collaborate to build three IT-focused challenges designed to expose youth to various IT professions and career paths in fun and engaging ways and involve CompTIA members and IT professionals in challenge design and development. The IT challenges will be made available to the FUSE Studio network that includes more than 200 studios, potentially reaching more than 10,000 students each year.
  2. FUSE Studios for Schools: CompTIA will fund 21 new FUSE Studios at schools around the country. Schools that wish to host a FUSE Studio must apply by Feb. 24 at this website. These 21 FUSE Studios will have the potential to serve about 1,050 students and 60 teachers.
  3. Mentoring: The FUSE team will pilot a mentoring program between CompTIA’s IT pros and FUSE students. These mentors could work in FUSE Studios to support facilitators or help design and direct deeper learning experiences for students. CompTIA members and IT pros can volunteer for the team by contacting Joan Matz at [email protected].

CompTIA was founded in 1982, and is a leading voice for the IT industry, with more than 2,00 members, 3,000 academic and training partners and tens of thousands of registered users.

FUSE is a STEAM-oriented experience developed by researchers and educators in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. The hands-on challenges are designed to foster the development of important 21st century skills.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].