FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2022
City of Bridgeport, RYASAP Launch National League of Cities’ Youth Excel Initiative Aimed at Increasing Accessibility to STEM Career Pathways to City’s Youth
City Receives $150,00 in grants for expanded STEM access
Bridgeport, CT – Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP), alongside representatives from the National League of Cities (NLC) and others, this week launched NLC’s initiative, Youth Excel: Cities Advancing Equitable Youth Economic Recovery and Empowerment, which aims to increase accessibility to STEM career pathways for interested young adults and youth in marginalized communities.
In partnership with the City of Bridgeport and the Greater Bridgeport STEM Learning Ecosystem (GBSLE) coordinated by the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, the group recognized Bridgeport’s position as one of only six cities across the nation receiving grants of $150,000.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Bridgeport's work on a national stage,” said Marc Donald, Executive Director of RYASAP. “We can build on the great work of the Greater Bridgeport STEM Learning Ecosystem to connect our young adults to high growth STEM careers.”
The City is also receiving specialized assistance from NLC’s staff and other national experts to advance the city’s efforts to expand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career pathways for disadvantaged young people. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that occupations in STEM fields are expected to grow 8% by 2029, compared with 3.7% for all occupations.
Bridgeport is Connecticut's largest city by population, with a child poverty rate of 40.2% as of 2019 and a 77% graduation rate in 2021. However, Bridgeport is the home to three universities, a community college, and a growing advanced manufacturing job market. Through GBSLE, over thirty non-profits, businesses, schools, and higher education partners work together to provide access to STEM enrichment and career opportunities for Bridgeport youth.
Mayor Joseph P. Ganim anticipates this level of increased access to STEM education will have ongoing positive effects on student’s lives long term, which will ultimately benefit the city and state as a whole.
“It is critical that we provide all young people with access to STEM education and career opportunities to learn now so they may thrive in the future,” Mayor Ganim said. “We are thankful for the funding awarded by the Youth Excel Initiative and the partnerships with local agencies that will offer meaningful programs and activities so that Bridgeport’s youth gain valuable experiences as they grow into adulthood.”
The Youth Excel initiative runs from January 2022 through June 2023 and is generously supported by the Siemens Foundation. You can learn more at: https://www.nlc.org/initiative/youth-excel.
ABOUT RYASAP Established in 1985 and serving the greater Bridgeport region, RYASAP (Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership) works to ensure the safe and healthy development of youth, young adults, and families by actively engaging organizations, public officials, and community leaders around issues that matter most to the community.