Silicon Box is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that creates innovation opportunities for underrepresented and underserved groups through the intersection of business, science, technology, engineering, art and math. Through our mobile and physical maker spaces, communities of educators and learners can flourish in a collaborative environment to create new skills, lasting mentors, and career opportunities.
- Broaden participation of underrepresented groups (women, underrepresented minorities, low-income, rural, first-generation, homeless, and disabled) in STEAM fields.
- Maintain year-round programs for students aimed at increasing new skills, lasting mentors, and career opportunities.
- Establish and maintain STEAM partnerships within the state and across the nation to offer high quality STEAM programs based on researched best practices.
- Provide mentoring programs for youth in the early stages of their STEAM exploration.
- We want to ignite the creativity and excitement for STEAM by bringing hands on STEAM activities and resources to communities.
- Our activities are inclusive and culturally aligned with a low barrier of entry.
- We aim to nurture and grow our communities with programs from K-12 and beyond.
- Both mentors for educators and learners are needed.
- Matching mentors that culturally identify with the learner will be our goal as this can create the needed role model to break down barriers.
- Strong industry involvement will create new relationships for educators and mentors alike.
- We will partner with industry to provide career opportunities for all that participate in our programs.
- Help learners prepare for the workforce through resume building, interview training, and networking.
- Focus will be on gaining hands on experience via internships and coops.
- See our Draft Plan Silicon Box Corporate Presentation here.
Our economy is heavily reliant on workers with technical skills, yet there is an absence of a diverse talent pool available of tech workers. This causes continued economic pressure on rural and under-represented groups as automation continues to require higher level skills. A need exists to create a strong pipeline of diverse STEAM learners from K to College and beyond.
Our programs will be designed to benefit underrepresented groups (women, underrepresented minorities, low-income, rural,first-generation, homeless, and disabled). By creating mobile makerspaces we will be able to train educators and students in various maker technologies to create new skills and businesses. By being mobile we will be able to target areas where maker technology and knowhow might not be accessible.
There is no lack of resources available to educators and students, but what is lacking is access to individuals and a local community that can help to sustain and grow the needs of educators and learners. Without mentors to lead hands on engagement, the ability to create and sustain a community that can create new opportunities tends to dwindle over time.
One of the biggest challenges facing employers that have a need for a diverse population of tech workers is that the actual pool of eligible talent is not diverse. This is a pipeline problem that needs to be addressed throughout the education lifecycle. By partnering with employers that need tech workers we will be able to create a more diverse talent pool starting with high school internships all the way through college level summer internships.
Our programs will create a long lasting impact in the community by creating a set of programs that are accessible for school aged children to adults and their educators. By adding in a face to face component to the already available online and physical resources we will be able to accelerate the digital literacy rate, increase graduation rate in to BSTEAM higher education and create new business opportunities for underrepresented minorities and rural communities.
While our near term goal is to jump start a physical and mobile makerspace in Corvallis that can support rural communities in Benton, Linn, Lincoln, Polk, and Marion counties, we will also work to make our methods and processes public so that other small communities can leverage our work to create their own makerspaces across the country.