49ers Promote STEAM Education in Northern California

Professional sports figures carry a lot of sway among young Americans. The San Francisco 49ers football team is leveraging that influence to encourage STEAM learning at the local level.

The 49ers Foundation STEAM Education Program recently teamed up with 49ers Academy, an East Palo Alto non-profit agency embedded in the public-school system, to deliver a STEAM event for local youth.

The all-school assembly showcased STEAM in football and kicked off an upcoming year of STEAM educational programs for more than 125 seventh- and eighth-graders.

"We believe in you and we believe that a future for everyone is a great education," said 49ers CEO Jed York. "We want to inspire you to be whatever you want to be when you grow up, and we'd like to help you get there. That's why we're going to make sure you are fired up to learn and to continue on a path of education."

Plans call for the foundation's STEAM education team to visit East Palo Alto six times to host optional one-hour after-school sessions, which will tie STEAM concepts to football. Students who choose to sign up for the program will have a chance to work in groups on a STEAM project that will later be presented to STEAM educators and 49ers Academy educators at Levi's Stadium.

Student participants who make it to all the sessions and who present on the project will receive two tickets to a 2018 preseason home game.

Organizers said the upcoming after-school program will be the first component in a longstanding effort to promote STEAM in East Palo Alto.

This is not the team's only foray into STEAM education. The 49ers Museum bills itself as "the first professional sports organization to embrace the STEAM learning concepts for youth". The museum offers STEAM-based project activities and seeks to engage students in a range of technologically-rich programs.

About the Author

Based in Annapolis, MD, Adam Stone writes on education technology, government and military topics.