Supporting career readiness through Robotics challenges. Group of students building a robotic with various parts.

Empowering Students for a Tech-Driven Future through the Catalyze Foundation Award

Written by Spencer Taylor, Director of Sales and Marketing, Scoutlier by Aecern

As technology continues to reshape our world, here at Scoutlier, we recognize its double effect. While its rapid advancement continues to offer plenty of new career opportunities, it also highlights the disparities within our workforce. Minorities and women are most affected by the disparities caused by advancing tech, as they face the most barriers to entry into this ever-evolving field. NCES statistics report that less than 1% of all high school students take a data science course. This dismal statistic only stands to exacerbate the problem, and the outcomes for those in the minority groups are even more concerning. 

With funding granted by Catalyze, we created Rapid Innovation Challenges that met the specifications of “At the Cutting Edge,” the Catalyze Challenge that was aimed at addressing the existing gap in technology-driven fields. How do our Rapid Innovation Challenges aim to solve this problem? They immerse students (grades 6 and above) in cutting-edge technologies and encourage them to develop solutions for pressing, real-world challenges encountered by professionals in these fields. 

Employing a hands-on, problem-solving methodology, our Rapid Innovation Challenges not only enhance a student’s educational journey but also equip them with the skills needed to navigate challenges and capitalize on the opportunities a technology-driven future presents. This forward-thinking approach is the cornerstone of all our Career ConnectED programs, captivating students with exciting prospects in existing and emerging career pathways. 

Diverse Perspectives, Inclusive Futures

At Scoutlier, one of our core values is that a diverse workforce is crucial for innovation and success in every industry. Therefore, our Rapid Innovation Challenges showcase professionals who reflect a spectrum of demographics, backgrounds and educational pathways.

 By featuring a diverse range of role models, our challenges inspire students to envision themselves in these roles, thus exposing them to new potential career pathways and promoting inclusivity in the workforce.

Dr. Simone Brookins Jenkins, one of our Catalyze partners, said, “We will be able to reach underrepresented students through the [Scoutlier] platform and provide them [students] with experiences that will acquaint them with prospective career pathways, such as a career in medicine. This will also diversify careers that historically have an underrepresentation of African American and Latinx people.” Our commitment to diversity is a fundamental principle we imbue into every program and curriculum we develop.

Virtual engagement. Student working on a 3D project on computer screen.

Virtual Engagement on the Scoutlier Platform

Central to the program’s success is its integration with Scoutlier, our digital learning platform. Thanks to the kickstart of funding through Catalyze, students now have the opportunity to virtually engage with professionals, share ideas, design solutions, and pitch their innovative projects. 

Scoutlier’s digital interface makes the learning experience interactive and dynamic by allowing students to connect with professionals beyond geographical boundaries. The Scoutlier platform becomes a virtual playground where creativity, collaboration and critical thinking converge to shape the futures of aspiring tech leaders. Not only that, but the engagement tracking on Scoutlier is on the leading edge, providing invaluable insights to educators. 

You can see your student’s progress in real-time, as well as what they upload, how long they have worked on a question, their answers to each question, and many more exciting data opportunities, which all help you understand and improve student engagement.

Career ConnectED 

With the reward received from the Catalyze Challenge, we have developed many innovative and engaging curricula under our Career ConnectED framework, powered by Scoutlier,  that have impacted over 2 million students nationwide. 

Built on the same principles as our Rapid Innovation program, all of Scoutlier’s ConnectED Programs are dedicated to immersing students in problem-based learning and fostering connections with different career opportunities. This initiative aims to broaden the horizons of K-12 students by introducing them to career paths they may not have previously considered. By doing so, we hope to enhance diversity in innovative industries and contribute to addressing the growing skills gap.

If you want to check in on our journey since the award, feel free to check out our amazing programs here on our website. If you want to learn more about “At The Cutting Edge,” check out our award statement from Catalyze here. Create your FREE teacher account to join us in bringing career opportunities and engagement back into the K12 classrooms. You can access our Rapid Innovation Challenges under “Featured” content in our Community Library.


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Scoutlier by Aecern, LLC.
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Woods Hole, MA 0254

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