One of the most well-known names in technology is making an investment in the STEM community and one of the country’s most innovative cities.
Google has announced an investment totalling $2.1 million into initiatives to help bring STEM to more people. The tech giant has also opened the Google Waterloo Community Space, the company’s first ever space of its kind in Canada.
The $2.1 million investment will be broken into three separate parts. The largest chunk will be a $1.5 million re-investment into Actua, Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization. The group hosts events and programs designed to help youth enter the fields and has different chapters across the country.
Google and Actua have cooperated and invested together before. In 2014, Google and Actua launched Codemakers with another $1.5 million investment that helped youth engage with special projects designed to bring them deeper into STEM. That project ended in late 2017, so this investment renews the relationship between the two companies.
“We are incredibly grateful for Google’s significant re-investment in Actua’s coding and digital skills programming for youth across Canada,” said Jennifer Flanagan, president and CEO of Actua. “This support will help provide hundreds of thousands of youth with the critical knowledge and skills they need to become Canada’s future innovators.”
Along with that $1.5 million to Actua, $400,000 will go towards the University of Waterloo’s Women in Computer Science initiative. The committee is looking to build dedicated computer science spaces for women at the school and bring in outside organizations to host events for interested participants.
Finally, $200,000 will go towards the Engineering Science Quest program. The program is for youths in grades one through nine and hosts 3,000 children each year. Engineering Science Quest empowers youth by creating opportunities for them to learn and receive hands-on experience in STEM.
“We’re thrilled Google is opening a new Community Space next to its Kitchener-Waterloo office and investing $2.1 million in funding for local STEM nonprofits and schools,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “This is fantastic news for our city—Google’s support will help us drive innovation and growth and find future tech leaders right here in the community.”
On top of this new $2.1 million going towards STEM initiatives based in Waterloo and Kitchener, Google has opened a brand new community space on the ground floor of their office. The space is just under 4,000 square feet and gives nonprofits and other organizations a space to host and engage with STEM events.
For example, every week this year saw the space being used by a robotics team made up of students called Team 2702 Rebels, run by Kitchener-Waterloo youth Robotics. Google;’s community space gave them a spot to meet and build prototypes, and the team actually finished first in recent western qualifiers for a competition. The space can also host workshops, seminars and networking events.
“Through our newly announced funding and Community Space, Google hopes to engage more than 75,000 Canadians in STEM and digital skills programming over the next year,” wrote Shawn Wallace, a Googler and the co-founder of Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Robotics.