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United Technologies commits $3M to STEM partnership in P.R.

United Technologies Corp. and the National Academy Foundation (NAF) announced a multi-million-dollar national partnership to expand NAF Academies of Engineering to Puerto Rico and beyond, the companies announced. 

The partnership, which entails a $3 million funding commitment over three years, aims to expand NAF’s well-established and successful Academies of Engineering, bringing industry-proven STEM programs to under-resourced public high schools in Puerto Rico, Palm Beach County, Florida and across the United States.  

The commitment will also extend to supporting NAF’s Academies of IT and engaging NAF alumni through its NAFTrack platform. Through its partnership with NAF, UTC will prioritize the development of a robust pipeline of diverse technical talent. 

During a kick-off event in Aguadilla representatives from UTC and NAF announced that two high schools, Benito Cerezo High School and Elvira Colon High School, will serve as the inaugural sites for Puerto Rico’s first NAF Academies of Engineering.

Both schools are close to UTC’s Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace Systems facilities, making it possible for employees to volunteer and work side-by-side with students, the companies said.  

“UTC is incredibly proud to partner with NAF, an organization that is transforming the STEM learning environment with tangible, hands-on learning opportunities for high school students in underserved communities,” said UTC CEO Greg Hayes.

“These academies will expose generations of students in Puerto Rico to STEM classes, mentorships and company internships, bringing to life what a future career in engineering and technology can look like,” he said.

Through the partnership, UTC and NAF will bring professional engineering expertise into the classroom. And, by offering a variety of work-based learning engagements such as company visits, mentoring, and paid high school internships, UTC and NAF are ensuring that these students are career ready.

The two new NAF locations will join a nationwide network of 600 academies offering “school within a school” career-themed programs.  

“NAF aims to make a positive difference for as many students as possible,” said NAF Founder Sandy Weill. “By working with UTC, we are expanding into a previously untapped location that will greatly benefit from UTC’s investment and support NAF’s long-held belief that all students deserve access to opportunities for success.”

“NAF can now proudly say that we are serving more than 100,000 students throughout the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. We want to thank Greg Hayes and his outstanding leadership team for the wonderful work they do in the communities they serve and we look forward to a long-lasting partnership,” he said.

UTC has a history and established aerospace presence in Puerto Rico that stretches back 17 years. It began when Infotech Aerospace Services Inc., the first aerospace engineering services company in Puerto Rico, launched a joint venture with Pratt & Whitney.

Today, UTC employs more than 2,000 people on the island in the design and manufacturing of aerospace technologies for jet engines, air management and electrical systems. 

This announcement is part of UTC’s comprehensive effort to help address the technologies skills gap and under-representation of women and minorities in the technology sector. NAF is one of UTC’s pillar partnerships which include “Girls Who Code,” “National Invention Convention” and “FIRST.” 

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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