BOSTON and TEANECK, N.J., July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low-income students, today welcomed Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH), a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services, as a new National Leadership Partner.
Cognizant's investments of talent, financial support, and organizational capacity will help Citizen Schools deepen its impact on student learning and educational practice in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Texas and at the national level. The $500,000 initial grant will help Citizen Schools achieve its goals of growing from an enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and over 3,000 volunteer Citizen Teachers, to approximately 17,000 students and nearly 13,000 Citizen Teachers over the course of the next three years.
The partnership with Citizen Schools is part of Cognizant's "Making the Future" program, designed to improve education and learning around the world, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program was inspired by the growing Maker Movement, which is made up of children and adults who tackle hands-on projects to solve real-world problems using readily available materials and components. Makers are driven by the challenge and fun of the projects they tackle, yet are developing pragmatic STEM-related skills and other 21st century competencies.
With Citizen Schools, Cognizant employees will have the opportunity to create and teach "apprenticeships," 11-week hands-on learning courses for middle school students, drawing on existing Citizen Schools curricula or creating new courses based on project ideas from the Maker Movement.
"Cognizant and Citizen Schools share a commitment to reinvigorate education by enabling students to be active producers, rather than passive consumers, of their learning. Hands-on projects and real-world challenges engage students' interests and motivate them to explore new fields," said Eric Schwarz, Co-Founder and CEO, Citizen Schools. "Citizen Schools is increasingly focused on engaging scientists, engineers, and technology professionals to teach students in apprenticeships once a week. Some of Citizen Schools' partner schools—designated as SUPER STEM schools—have a math focus in academic portions of the program and assign as much as 50 percent of their apprenticeships to the STEM sector."
Despite billions of dollars spent on education reform, students in the U.S. continue to play catch-up with other nations in the key disciplines necessary for tomorrow's workforce. Among global developed nations, for instance, the U.S. ranks 15th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in mathematics, according to the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment results published by the OECD.
"The U.S. has long been admired for its vibrant technology industry and a culture that fosters innovation and challenges conventional thinking; however, that competitive edge now needs a new impetus. Through Making the Future and investments in organizations like Citizen Schools, Cognizant seeks to encourage exploration, invention, and the joy of learning," explained Mark Greenlaw, Vice President, Sustainability and Educational Affairs, Cognizant. "Partnering with Citizen Schools will help us identify project-based learning programs that will excite young learners in the STEM areas while, at the same time, improve 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and innovation that will redefine the future of work."
On international comparisons of student achievement, the U.S. fares reasonably well among young students. But in the middle school years, the U.S. drops steadily within the list of industrialized countries, and by high school the gap widens sharply. For this reason, Citizen Schools is focused on providing middle school students, especially low-income students at higher risk of dropping out, with hands-on, engaging activities that create experiences of success and mastery, and inspire a zest for learning.
Investing in STEM education has also been a top priority for Cognizant. In September 2010, Cognizant's CEO, Francisco D'Souza, joined President Barack Obama and more than 100 leading CEOs to launch Change the Equation (CTEq), a CEO-led initiative to cultivate widespread STEM literacy. CTEq is committed to achieve President Obama's Educate to Innovate campaign mission to increase private and philanthropic involvement in STEM education, while also meeting a critical need for a workforce and a citizenry fluent in science and math. In June 2010, Cognizant announced its support for NPower, a national nonprofit that brings information technology (IT) services to nonprofits and training to young adults, as a National Corporate Underwriter.
Funding for Citizen Schools is made through the Cognizant Technology Solutions Charitable Fund at the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program.
About Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools is a leading national education initiative that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country through afterschool and expanded learning time programs. The organization mobilizes a second shift of afternoon educators, who provide academic support, leadership development, and "apprenticeships"—hands-on projects taught by volunteers from business and civic organizations. At 37 middle schools in seven states across the country, Citizen Schools students develop the skills they need to succeed in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life. Learn more about Citizen Schools' programs and results at www.citizenschools.org.
Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world's leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50 delivery centers worldwide and approximately 111,000 employees as of March 31, 2011, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant.
This press release includes statements which may constitute forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the accuracy of which are necessarily subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions as to future events that may not prove to be accurate. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied include general economic conditions and the factors discussed in our most recent Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cognizant undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.