Best Buy to Confront the Opportunity Gap by Nearly Doubling Its Teen Tech Center Network in Support of Underserved Urban Youth

  • Best Buy issues call-for-entries to open nine new Teen Tech
    Centers in 2017, expanding national network to 20 locations in
    challenged urban communities
  • Year-round training will reach thousands more underserved
    teens, helping them leverage technology for a wide variety of future
    career paths
  • Accelerated outreach effort addresses projections that 77
    percent of all jobs will require tech skills in coming decade

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More of the nation’s underserved teens will have access to free
technology tools and training as Best Buy today announces plans to add
nine new Best Buy Teen Tech Centers to its year-round support network in
2017. The announcement was made just as the company officially opens its
newest Teen Tech Center in Denver, Colorado today.

The expanded network of 20 Teen Tech Centers will provide tech education
to thousands of students, with special priority for new centers to be
located in urban cities such as Las Vegas and Pittsburgh. Plans are
already underway to open centers in early 2017 in Atlanta and San Diego.

In the coming decade, 77 percent of all jobs will require technology
skills.1 Yet wide disparities still exist among youth from
lower-income families who lack tools like computers and internet
connections, or know how to use them, creating an opportunity gap for
urban teens.

“These community centers will provide underserved young people with the
technology tools and education that enable them to pursue new career
paths for a tech-reliant future,” said Laura Bishop, vice president of
public affairs and sustainability at Best Buy. “With help from our
community partners, we can inspire teens to become innovators and
creators, and forever change the course of their lives for the better.”

Best Buy Teen Tech Centers provide opportunity for young people
needing it most

For more than a decade, Best Buy has provided
access to tech tools and training for hundreds of thousands of
low-income youth through community grants and partnerships with local
nonprofits to host the free, year-round facilities and summer
camps. Teen Tech Centers, which launched in 2012, help students learn
basic computer skills and explore interests through classes that are
neither taught nor required in many traditional school settings. Classes
range from programming to coding, application development, digital
photography, music and graphic design.

Devonte Gooding, a 20-year-old Teen Tech Center alumnus from Washington,
D.C., advanced his photography skills during his time at a local center
and it forever changed his future. “My time at Best Buy’s Teen Tech
Center inspired me to go after a career I never thought possible,”
Gooding said. After a chance meeting with a government official at an
art auction that sold one of his photos, he now holds the first-ever
photo internship with the U.S. Department of Energy and is pursuing his
bachelor’s degree in graphic design.

In a recent study of students who participated in Teen Tech Centers, 92
percent believe they will use the skills acquired in their future
careers, and 94 percent plan to continue their education post-high
school.2

The growing national network of Teen Tech Centers relies on local
nonprofit partners who understand the unique challenges that youth in
urban areas face. Best Buy is seeking organizations passionate about
helping youth develop skills needed in a tech-reliant future as they
navigate education and career choices. Organizations are invited to find
out more about hosting a Best Buy Teen Tech Center by visiting theclubhousenetwork.org/bestbuy.

Best Buy taps Geek Squad Agents to create new curriculum
As
technology evolves, so do the requirements for advancing career
potential. Best Buy’s Geek Squad Agents ensure underserved youth stay
ahead of trends by employing new curricula each year that align with
passions like digital filmmaking, 3D design, HTML coding and circuitry,
and others.

For example, in 2017, a new pixel art curriculum will be introduced
across all Teen Tech Centers. Teens will learn how to create original
pixel art and animation, beginning with the design of a character. The
basic principles of coding are inherently part of this curriculum,
providing teens with skills that lay the foundation for a variety of
careers.

About Best Buy Community Relations
Since 1995, Best Buy has
invested nearly $300 million in the communities it serves. In the past
five years, the company concentrated its focus on giving support to
programs that leverage technology to inspire and engage underserved
teens, and to help them prepare for college and careers. This commitment
to addressing the opportunity gap among underserved youth is exemplified
through programs such as Geek Squad Academy and 11 Best Buy Teen Tech
Centers now operating in Bellevue, Washington; Chicago; Dallas; Denver;
Jersey City, New Jersey; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Oakland; San
Antonio; and Washington, D.C.

1. IDC
Research

2. Youth Impact Survey, 2015

Contacts

Best Buy
Paula Baldwin, 612-231-5146
Paula.Baldwin@BestBuy.com