Rapper will.I.am Expands Local Robotics Program To Get Kids Excited About STEM
Photo Credit: Jerod Harris

Rapper will.I.am Expands Local Robotics Program To Get Kids Excited About STEM

Musician and tech entrepreneur will.I.am is taking his love for robotics to the next level with his co-created robotics program.

The Black Eyed Peas band member has a goal to ease the struggles of the next generation in terms of accessibility to educational resources. With that said, his i.am Angel Foundation is partnering with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to expand their robotics program to what could be 12,000 students throughout the entire district.

According to an announcement from the Foundation, the LAUSD has witnessed the positive impact the organization has had on local neighborhood Boyle Heights for the past 11 years, serving close to 1,400 students in their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education.

This summer, the two entities want to continue this community work and bring STEM skill sets to more than 400 new robotics clubs from middle and high schools and sign up as many students as possible for the FIRST Robotics program ahead of the upcoming school year.

“Every school has a basketball court and many have football fields, but only two businesses benefit from these skill sets, and it’s mostly for boys,” will.i.am said in a statement. “Football is great, but my niece will never play for the NFL. With robotics clubs, boys and girls can learn valuable STEM skills and how to work in teams – knowledge that helps secure college scholarships and, eventually, high-paying jobs. With FIRST Robotics, every child can be a winner in school, work and in life. My mission is to put a robotics club in every public school, and we are off to a great start with this new program in Los Angeles.”

will.I.am created the i.am Angel Foundation back in 2009 to help support low-income students in his hometown neighborhood and beyond through after-school tutoring, STEAM courses, robotics clubs and computer coding classes. Additionally, the foundation also provides students with a college track program and scholarships.

As someone who knows the struggle of coming from a tough background firsthand, will.I.am is doing all he can to uplift kids in his local community and ease their financial hardships by offering them access to tools that can help them create better futures for themselves.

“If I was 15 right now I’d be in robotics because that is the ultimate level of creativity,” he told NBC Los Angeles. “I was born and raised in Boyle Heights, in the projects Estrada Courts and it was beautiful and the struggle was hard.”

“Having people like Will that students can see in themselves, someone who grew up in their neighborhood is absolutely critical,” LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner told the outlet as well.

will.I.am has always shared a passion for technology and now he wants to spread that same kind of joy to others in hopes of giving them more career options.

For more information about the robotics clubs, click here.