Provide an “all-access” card to students and families
Many institutions owned or controlled by cities – museums, art centers, libraries, parks, zoos, recreation centers, and historical sites – are precious educational assets where out-of-school time learning can take place. An all-access card provides free admission to such locations to help increase opportunity and accessibility. Cards can double as transit passes (to help young people travel to and from these learning institutions) and even enable city agencies and their nonprofit partners to collect data on utilization of these community resources. Cities can also encourage collaboration between cultural institutions, sparking conversations and joint planning efforts on ways to help youth maximize their experiences and learning at each location.
Create a network that supports highly engaging learning experiences throughout the community
Today’s children and youth are learning differently in a digital age, and they need opportunities to pursue their interests in diverse community settings as well as during school hours. As the Remake Learning Network in Pittsburgh has demonstrated so powerfully, city leaders can partner with local corporations and businesses, community foundations, schools, museums, libraries and youth-serving agencies to support hands-on learning experiences that equip young people with the competencies they need to thrive now and in the future. In so doing, cities can lay a stronger foundation for entrepreneurship and help bring innovative learning practices to all of their neighborhoods, a sharp departure from current patterns in which they are only within the reach of students whose parents can afford to pay for high-quality enrichment programs after school and during summer breaks.
Sponsor and host STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) related events
The demand for STEAM skills is growing and jobs in associated fields are driving global economic growth. However, not all students have equal access to STEAM learning opportunities outside of school. City leaders can enlist the help of local schools and private sector partners to expose students to these critical skills through well-designed career and technical education offerings, special events such as science competitions and internships that provide young people with deeper insights into STEAM career opportunities. Local employers as well as universities, colleges and postsecondary vocational and technical education institutions all have unique resources to contribute to citywide initiatives.