Monday, December 1, 2014
I believe the children are the future: Harnessing Human Capital and Encouraging Technological Advancement
Supply Chain Management in the 21st century is inclusive of increasing exposure to innovation and manufacturing processes. This exposure is to be given to children and communities who are not likely to gain this experience otherwise. Kitchen-Table Industrialists (The New York Times, 2011) explains how various technological companies maintain this idea and work towards making exposure to technology a reality.
As the title states, taken from a popular Whitney Houston song, “I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way.” Investing in exposing children to technology and innovation will give America a jump-start on keeping up with manufacturing trends. Currently, children in low-income families do not have access to Internet. Specifically, only 33% of children in homes with an income of $15,000 own computers. The National Center for Children in Poverty states that 22% of ALL children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level ($23,550). As we become a much more technological integrated society, stemming from our workforce, many children are at risk of being left behind.
Today, one of the biggest priorities for America is remaining on top of the manufacturing industry through innovative means. However, it is noted that Germany and China tend to have more supportive environments for incubating manufacturing companies at every stage. In 2009, the White House began to remedy this with the creation of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. The stated approach of this department is, “The Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation is focused on developing policies and programs to accelerate economic recovery and create stronger communities. We do this by harnessing human capital and facilitating financial capital.” I believe harnessing human capital begins with youth education and exposure.
I will profile a variety of technology-based companies whose sole intention is to get technology into the hands of children and those who may be technologically challenged.
Here goes. . .
LittleBits Electronics provides kits that enable individuals to prototype and learn with electronics. “It’s an ever-growing library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets so you can invent anything.”
The stated mission is to create innovative products that put smiles on the faces of children while providing a quality business opportunity for our customers, team and partners. To achieve this Tech4Kids infuses classic play with exciting brands and fresh innovation.
Black Girls CODE
Black Girls CODE is a non-profit organization with a focus on introducing girls (ages 7-17) of color to technology and creating the next generation of tech leaders and creators. Currently there are over 2,500 students with 7 domestic chapters and 1 international chapter in Johannesburg, South Africa. 
Strives to improve low-income youth’s computer and learning skills through caring mentorship, structured training, a vibrant learning environment, and access to a computer at home. The program uses computers as a catalyst for youth to challenge themselves, become engages in their own learning, and realized greater possibilities academically, professionally, and for their community. 
Well-known companies that should be mentioned
Provides funds for schools to bring interactive technology into the classroom. So far Best Buy has donated over $13 Million through the Best Buy Teach Awards
Created a program called 1 to 1 that works with grades K-12 to provide each student with access to wireless laptop for school and home.
Committed $1.8 billion to philanthropic programs supporting education: community development; the arts, health and human services, and technology access in communities across the country.
Finally, I wish these organizations much success. Additionally, I hope my classmates take the time to invest in these organizations or develop human capital centered firms of their own. With the understanding of the importance of technology and America’s desire for innovative improvement for supply chain networks, how can we create more incentives, policy based or otherwise, for larger companies to invest in youth education and technological exposure?