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Xtreme5 Teen Tech Summit Empowers More Than 100 Philadelphia Youth, Provides Hands-on Experience With Drones and other AI Technologies at Science History Institute

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Recently, more than 100 Philadelphia youth attended the Xtreme5 Teen Tech Summit, powered by Grace3 Technologies, a Black-owned global technology company. The free event, which took place at the Science History Institute, was designed to empower the next generation of leaders by delivering hands-on, real-world tools and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, sUAS/Drones, and more. Event sponsors included Aetna Better Health Kids, Ameresco, Digital Barriers, National Black Empowerment Council, Rajant Corporation, and Skydio, among others.

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Delivering remarks, John Henry, Grace3 Technologies, Chairman & CEO said: “This is a rewarding experience for all of us. We have the privilege to provide a unique event for young people by showing them firsthand how to use virtual reality, drones and more. Then, we put them face-to-face with the industry leaders who are creating these cutting edge technologies.” He continued, “Our goal is to create the next generation of tech leaders, right here, in Philadelphia, by prioritizing underrepresented communities in STEM, including Black, Hispanic/Latinx youth as well as girls.”

Xtreme5 Teen Tech Summit exposes youth to technological gadgets and career opportunities that exist in STEM. Darius Jones, founder and CEO, National Black Empowerment Council said: “according to Pew Research, people of color remain underrepresented in STEM careers with Black and Hispanic workers making up only 11 percent and 17 percent of the workforce, respectively.” He continued, “as one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and our goal in supporting an event like X5 is to ensure Black and brown youth are being exposed to opportunities that allow them to take part.”

Women in STEM are also underrepresented making up 28% of the workforce, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) while The Pennsylvania Department of Education has said that in the next ten years, 71 percent of new jobs will require computer science skills.

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Anecdotally, Philadelphia youth have experienced an unprecedented amount of trauma – from COVID-19 to gun violence to the opioid crisis. Mental health is a primary concern for all partners, particularly presenting sponsor Aetna Better Health Kids, a managed care organization that, through the state and federally-funded Children’s Health Insurance Program, provides mental health services and substance abuse services for young people, among other benefits. For some youth, Xtreme5 Teen Tech Summit is an outlet to escape.

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Rep. Joanna McClinton, Pennsylvania Democratic House Leader, 191st District, who delivered remarks at the tech summit, said: “The Philadelphia area is home to five regional STEM ecosystems that encompass schools, businesses, and community organizations which offer robust learning opportunities. Programs like Xtreme5 Teen Tech Summit contribute to the Commonwealth’s national recognition as a leader in STEM and STEM education.”

“Science is all around us, but how it impacts our lives often goes unnoticed,” said David Cole, president and CEO of the Science History Institute. “Our museum is full of interesting objects related to the history of science, and  with this event, the Institute was able to show students how the past and the present can come together to create a more inclusive future in science and technology.”

At the summit, students engaged with leading innovators and experts from various science, technology, and corporate sectors, and participated in a museum tour scavenger hunt, hands-on virtual reality and tech play with drones provided by Skydio and Drone-Cadets, and learned about STEM career opportunities from our participating sponsors.

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