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Helping Youth Prepare for Tech-Focused Future

When Greater Twin Cities United Way launched Career Academies in 2015, Best Buy was one of the first to generously invest in this innovative approach to education.

“We were excited and grateful to have Best Buy as an early investor in Career Academies,” said Chad Brown, VP of Foundations and Special Initiatives at United Way. “Since making a financial investment, they’ve also become a critical thought partner in the project. They are deeply committed to helping young people succeed in education, technology and the world of work.”

Infusing career-focused curriculum with postsecondary opportunities, Career Academies offers high school students a whole new way to learn and prepare for their future. Students gain the skills and credentials needed to assume key roles in our workforce—responding to labor shortages and strengthening our economy in the process.

“There’s a concern across the country about what’s happening in the workforce,” said Andrea Wood, director of Community Relations at Best Buy. “What I love about Career Academies is that it’s a long-term investment to set young people up for success.”

Best Buy is committed to helping underserved teens prepare for the tech-reliant jobs of the future. Through community grants, and its own Geek Squad Academy and Teen Tech Centers, Best Buy helps teens build skills through a variety of technology-focused programs.

Geek Squad Students Around Laptop

“Nearly 80% of the jobs over the next decade will require tech skills,” said Deborah Morris York, senior manager of Best Buy Community Relations. “Equipping young people with the skills to earn a livable wage in a high demand field is key.”

Recently, Best Buy announced it will expand its Teen Tech Centers—growing the program from 11 centers to more than 60, operating throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The centers provide teens with hands-on learning and tech-exploration in programming, filmmaking, music production, and design. In addition to the Minneapolis Central Library site, additional local sites in this expansion include Brian Coyle Center, Hope Community, Keystone Community Services, CLUES, the Capri Theatre, and the YMCA in St. Paul.

By 2020, Best Buy will reach one million young people across all of its programming—fueling the excitement and momentum of tech-focused career pathways into the future. “We have a great model to share,” Wood said. “We are looking for opportunities to work with other companies and funders to come together, collaborate, and co-invest in this work.”

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