by Andrea Fetchko and Tara Leo Auchey

The Verizon Wireless Education Empowerment Program is coming to the Harrisburg School District (HSD).

During the June 20, 2013 HSD Budget, Finance, and Facilities Committee meeting, Verizon representative Sean Shearer gave a presentation to kick off the program that starts in Harrisburg in August and will last until November. Created in 2011, the Verizon Wireless Education Empowerment Program is a partnership of Verizon and Samsung designed to empower high school students to attend college by promoting mobile learning and collaborative strategizing.

Fifteen students from HSD’s School of Business & Industry Prep School Program (SBI) will participate in the this opportunity. Divided into three teams of five students, each team will be tasked with the goal of conceptually designing a unique mobile app along with a public relations package. The students will attend various instructional workshops conducted by corporate professionals to teach them marketing tools, interviewing skills, and teamwork building.

At the end of the program in November, the team with the best project will receive Samsung Galaxy tablets for each member.

Superintendent Sybil Knight Burney told school board directors this contest “matches what they are already doing in their curriculum” in the SBI program. A partnership between HSD and Florida A&M University School of Business & Industry, SBI was started in 1991 offering a three year programs focusing on business and industry. In order to be eligible for SBI, students must maintain a 3.0 grade average and be in an honors curriculum. Both parents and students are required to sign a contract committing to the rules and regulations of the program.

The attending school board of directors applauded both the SBI program and the Verizon/Samsung initiative. James Thompson, Chair of the HSD Budget, Finance, and Facilities Committee said, “The Board is 100% enthusiastic about Verizon’s tablet program. It gives our business program some much-needed publicity and Harrisburg students motivation to participate in this exciting career path.”

For more on the SBI program, see here