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One America - Project Uplift

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One America

Program: Project Uplift, Albuquerque, NM
Contact(s): Dr. Henry J. Casso, Director: (505) 265-4464
Purpose: To increase the number and caliber of multiethnic young people prepared to pursue highly challenging careers in science and technology
Background Program Operations Outcomes


Project Uplift is the name given to a series of initiatives conducted by the National Institute for Professional Development, founded by Dr. Henry Casso in 1975. Project Uplift is designed to stimulate interest in mathematics, science and engineering, and to help young people prepare for careers in these fields. Begun in 1981, the project is sustained through federal and corporate funding. Project Uplift is inclusive of all youth in the state of New Mexico, and works to ensure that participants are reflective of the population mix of the state.

Program Operations

New Mexico has many isolated and remote villages. Project Uplift ensures that the resources from the metropolitan areas are made available in these villages. Project Uplift produces a regular half-hour television program, broadcast on the local ABC affiliate across the state, on high technology career preparedness. It sponsors an annual science, engineering and technology career exposition. This event provides many middle and high school students from area villages with their first exposure to the possibilities of a career in a "high-tech" field. The annual High Technology Career Preparedness Youth Institute is a four-day visit by 150 students to the Sandia National Laboratory. The summertime Youth Institute is comprised of five week-long sessions involving hands-on activities with specialized technical professionals from a variety of fields relating to the environment, medicine and health, advanced computing and robotics, advanced manufacturing and astronomy. The final portion of Project Uplift helps the students to find a job in their chosen field. Project Uplift has developed the Rio Grande High Technology Minority and Women Job Fair, held each fall for approximately 675 university students from the state of New Mexico majoring in engineering, physical and life sciences, computer sciences and business. Materials and room and board are provided at no charge to the participants who are then able to interact with potential employers from across the country. With support from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Project Uplift conducted its first international high school student exchange. The first group of Project Uplift students went to Costa Rica and interacted with their peers from the city of San Jose. The students involved in this exchange leave with an increased desire to learn more about different cultures.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Since 1981, Project Uplift has produced 236 half-hour programs on technological careers seen throughout New Mexico, and portions of Arizona and Colorado. Over 2,000 high school students and personnel from 80 of the 89 school districts have participated in its annual career institute. Over 9,000 university students, along with 300 employers, have participated in the annual Rio Grande High Technology Minority and Women Job Fair. Finally, UNESCO is seeking to adapt Project Uplift initiatives for developing countries because of its success in reaching diverse and remotely situated people.

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