By Doug Oakley
OAKLAND -- McClymonds and Oakland Technical high schools will share a $5 million grant over five years to grow computer science and engineering programs, courtesy of tech giant Intel, the school district announced Tuesday.
With the Intel grant, the Oakland Unified School District this year has accepted about $28 million from organizations interested in sponsoring different programs this year including an $11 million grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies to develop pathways to careers in the health industry and a $5 million grant from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation for early learning.
Intel will help the two schools develop curriculum, buy computers, train teachers and offer employee mentors and job shadowing programs. Officials hope it will produce 600 college ready graduates who will seek college degrees and careers in engineering and computer science.
In a statement, an Intel official who did not attend a Tuesday news conference announcing the grant, said students successful in the high school program in Oakland will receive further help with college scholarships and jobs.
"We want parents to know the importance of careers in computer science and engineering," said Barbara McAllister, Intel's diversity in technology deputy director. "If we encourage kids to start and stay with these career pathways, then there is a job waiting for them."
McClymonds Principal Tinisha Hamberlin and Oakland City Council President Lynette McElhaney both talked about disadvantaged youth of color in Oakland needing access to the opportunity that is enjoyed by the mostly white workforce of Silicon Valley.
"A lot of our students live in the shadows of economic success," Hamberlin said "I'm excited our students will have access to an industry that will help them achieve their dreams."
McElhaney said children in Oakland who are born into poverty have "no less ability than a child born into affluence. The difference is access."
Oakland schools Superintendent Antwan Wilson said the grant goes hand in hand with the school district's mission.
"We want students to experience joy and be fully informed critical thinkers," Wilson said. "Investments such as this support that."
Other grants the Oakland school district won this year include: a $2.9 million federal grant to start restorative justice programs at six high schools; a $2.6 million federal grant to transform school culture and do behavior intervention, a $2.4 million federal grant to create better elementary-to-middle school transitions; $1.7 million grant from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation for professional development in early learning and $720,000 from the Rogers Family Foundation to integrate technology in classrooms.