Where’s Sheryl? At Junior Achievement’s Tech Innovation Day

By Sheryl Young, San Mateo County Program Director

200 students from underserved communities filled the Oracle Conference Center to hear energetic Allison Griffin, Intel’s Vice President of Global Marketing, talk about how they can contribute to the world and be ready for jobs in the future. She showed a video with examples of various Intel projects, including controlling 1,200 drones for the light show at the Winter Olympics, using drones for whale learning in Alaska, and making technology for driverless cars. “You could work on any projects like this or be the founder of a startup – you just need grit!” said Allison.

Emmett Phelan, Junior Achievement Program Director for San Mateo County, started the innovation program for youth because of his passionate desire to expose underserved kids to the possibilities of a better future. During the year, Junior Achievement also matches professional volunteer mentors and kids to explore career possibilities and what it takes to get there.

“This is a rare opportunity for these students to get the opportunity to talk with professionals about their careers, well-paying jobs in companies in their neighborhood where currently their parents may work in the cafeterias or on the grounds,” said Greg Stein, Industry Outreach Specialist from Sequoia Union High School District, who sent 40 students to Junior Achievement’s Tech Innovation Day.

At the beginning of the day, the students entered the auditorium silently and with hesitation, but as the morning progressed, expressions of wonder and hope emerged. After Allison’s opening remarks, the students did a short team building exercise and then were separated into small groups for hands-on experiences with employees from Intel, Tesla, Lockheed Martin, and Intuit. It was exciting to see the amount of energy and unleashed talent of the youth as they engaged with technology throughout the day.

PVF is proud to support Junior Achievement’s new innovative program in San Mateo County, to give youth a bright new future right here in our community.

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