The Importance of STEAM
American Family Insurance (AmFam) has partnered with local organizations and businesses in Milwaukee to host STEAM & Dream Summits around the country. This year’s first summit took place on May 14, 2022, in Atlanta at The Gathering Spot. STEAM & Dream is a Milwaukee-founded program that gives youth the chance to explore STEAM and it started with the help of AmFam Strategic Advisor JoAnne Sabir.
“This space was created for you all…it’s about showing you what’s possible,” said Sabir to the youth. “I want to hear about your dreams and how we can support that.”
Urban Future Centers
The summit featured Urban Future Centers (UFC): a group of Black-owned community-based organizations that collectively received $1.2 million in investments from AmFam.
AmFam partnered with Young Enterprising Society (YES), Milky Way Tech Hub, Sherman Phoenix, and Journey House, who collectively make up the Urban Future Centers, to bring these summits to life. UFC was started by AmFam to bring technology education and other resources to Milwaukee’s inner-city neighborhoods. Graceful Girls Youth & Family Services and Connect Business Consulting were also partners of the Atlanta summit.
“Events like STEAM & Dream are instrumental to the development of the next generation of future leaders and entrepreneurs because it shows them real-world examples of what they can become.”– YES Co-Founder Que El-Amin.
The summit also had a pitch competition that was judged by Venture Capitalist Rashaun L. Williams and sponsored by Milky Way Tech Hub. The two companies that pitched won $1,000 each. The Sherman Phoenix hosted a workshop that taught students about product development. Black on Black Education also hosted a workshop where students interacted with VR.
Earn Your Leisure Panels
The Atlanta summit was about giving Black and Brown youth first-hand experience and knowledge in the STEAM world. To further the goal, AmFam brought in one of the country’s top podcasts Earn Your Leisure (EYL) to spread financial literacy and the benefits of technology.
EYL’s Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings held two panels: one for youth and one for adults, where the two explained their business, gave advice, and networked with a room full of Black entrepreneurs, students, and investors.
EYL started off as a podcast but has now turned into a media and education company.
Along with being taught about money, the youth played a bingo game where the winner took home over $400. Throughout their panels, EYL repeated the importance of not only making money but also being able to manage it.
“Financial literacy doesn’t have an age limit,” said Millings.
EYL spent just as much time on the topic of money as they did on discussing technology.
“Unfortunately for us, we’re always behind. It’s important for us to understand technology no matter how you feel about it. Technology is not the future, it’s right now.”– Rashad Bilal
AmFam will host three more STEAM & Dream summits this year in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Phoenix.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.