Transcend STEM

Transcend STEM is a program of Community Council of Greater Dallas.  We provide innovative STEM based extra-curricular activities to low income students in grades K-12. The activities are designed to provide soft skills, certifications, workforce development, and career skills development. Additionally, we provide employment and apprenticeship partnerships for adult students in our program. Our online learning management system for adults also provides online and onsite educational opportunities that reach beyond STEM, but also include materials from numerous resources, including NASA. 

Mission of the Community Council of Greater Dallas

The mission of the Community Council serves the community by providing  leadership in: 

  • Determining priority issues solutions in the human services arena
  • Convening partners to significantly impact service delivery
  • Increasing awareness and access to services. 

The Community Council envisions vital communities which enable each individual to achieve his or her full potential:

  • Vital communities in which individuals and families are stable and achieve economic security;
  • Where people live healthy lives with maximum independence and resilience;
  • And where people are engaged in building opportunities.

     

Mission Statement of Transcend STEM

To close the gap in the school curricular and traditional workforce development for the under-served/underprivileged – with a special focus on At-Risk populations –  by actively preparing and engaging them through innovative, robust, and futuristic Whole Family Integrated – STEM based Programs that go above and beyond traditional methods.

Purpose

To bridge the gap between school and the workplace by providing participants all aspects of training: including resilience, emotional intelligence, and more. To address issues from a holistic, integrated family perspective rather than in isolation. To alleviate poverty through employment and entrepreneurship for our clients

History

Since its founding in 1940, the Community Council has identified services that are needed in the community, assessed how best services could be delivered to meet social issues, and mobilized and implemented action plans working in concert with its member agencies and public sector resources.

Pervasive issues over time have included juvenile delinquency and welfare; seniors; public health; daycare; and legislative advocacy. The Community Council met these challenges through fact-based research, deploying volunteers, incubating new services and agencies, expanding government programs where appropriate, convening collaborative work and delivering selected direct services.

The Community Council’s research and action plans resulted in the incubation and birth of new social services including:

  • Dallas Family Court
  • Dallas County Juvenile Department
  • Dallas Area Agency on Aging
  • Dallas Community Action Agency
  • Greater Dallas Community Relations Commission
  • Head Start of Greater Dallas
  • Callier Speech and Hearing Center
  • Volunteer Center of North Texas
  • Martin Luther King Center
  • Community Dental Care
  • Dallas Association of Services to the Homeless
  • AIDS ARMS
  • The Concilio
  • Lemmon Avenue Bridge
  • Youth and Family Centers
  • The Gleaning Network

Transcend STEM is a recent addition to the Community Council of Greater Dallas. The founder of Transcend STEM, Haphen Muchapondwa, began her journey through her personal life experience with neighborhood youth. Her personal observations where youth were perpetually turning to delinquent behavior and unwanted pregnancies due to the lack of adequate resources, guidance, engaging activities, family or outside support motivated her to become involved to make a difference. She felt that by focusing on the youths’ natural gravitation toward technology would be a fundamentally critical area of focus to assist the youth to find meaningful and productive projects to develop their employment and entrepreneurial skills. 

We also work with the following:

  • Anthem Strong Families
  • Community Council of Greater Dallas
  • Bach Springs Chamber of Commerce
  • Dallas Independent School District
  • Brookhaven College
  • Collin County College

Demographics served:

  • Low income – at or less than 125% of poverty
  • Low income populations at or below 125% federal  level – and At Risk Youths
  • We are located in Dallas, but our programs are offered online, so there is no geographic restriction for participants.
  • We are not county specific although we are only in Dallas and Collin County for now.

Problem

According to a biennial study from Children’s Health and the University of Texas at Dallas, 20% of children living in North Texas live in poverty, which includes 260,000 children who are food insecure. The report titled, “Beyond ABC,” provided a comprehensive analysis of four factors: health, economic security, safety, and education of children in Dallas county and five other counties. Findings demonstrated that:

  • The rates of uninsured children in Dallas were double the national average.
  • Texas ranks last in per-capita funding for mental illness. 
  • Childcare equates half of earnings made by poverty wage single parents. 
  • North Texas has fewer than 50% of necessary approved foster care homes for the children who need them. 
  • Child abuse and neglect cases were confirmed at 7,500 in 2016. 
  • Nearly 30,000 third-grade students were reading below grade level, which is higher than 50% of third-grade students in all six counties.

     

What this program solves: 

  • Poverty alleviation targeting the entire family – whole person whole family navigation.
  • Participants can achieve certifications and obtain better paying jobs within 6 – 18 months. This is unlike a college degree which would take longer, require more stringent prerequisites, and is cost prohibitive..

Without these programs, trained workforce for low income families and community development would dwindle and the future of the children affected would be bleak. 

Transcend STEM is focused on alleviating these challenges by helping students to earn good incomes from STEM based jobs that can later turn into well-paying careers. Not all students can enroll in college and our programs can provide them with the industry approved certification training required to help them to earn certifications that can assist them with gainful STEM-based employment without the college degree. 

With the help of the block grant we were able to impact participants and their families in 2018. We started with 30 participants who took various technology certifications. All thirty participants were able to secure jobs which pay a minimum of $11.00 per hour. Additionally, other household members who needed assistance, benefitted from wraparound services provided by Community Council. For example, we would bring a low-income participant in for courses, but through our pre-assessment and goal setting exercise we would discover that other family members also needed some kind of assistance. Assistance included food, gas cards, rent, childcare etc.. At that time, we would enroll our student and refer their family to the various departments which would take care of the rest of their needs. Enrolling 30 students ended up aiding 123 people if we included individuals who got other services in the participant household.

Programs

Transcend STEM is uniquely qualified to provide STEM based career prep courses, certifications, and career pathway skills to low income participants across the Dallas area.  This is especially critical for assisting local high schools to fulfill House Bill 5, which provides guidelines for schools to qualify for the Foundation High School Program. These guidelines require endorsements, which are the high school equivalent of college majors. The guidelines also stipulate that the students must take “a coherent sequence or series of courses” in one of five areas, which then provides the students with an endorsed diploma in that particular study area. One of the five endorsements available to students include STEM. Every high school that wishes to obtain Foundation High School Program status must offer courses leading to at least one endorsement. Transcend STEM partners with local high schools to assist them in this program qualification and prepare the students for lifelong careers by offering the schools access to the courses and bundle them with externships, internships, and employer partnerships. 

In the last year, we trained 30 students. Our current goal for 2019 is to train 90 additional students. We are focusing on 30 students from each school district in the Dallas – Ft. Worth Metroplex. Our current STEM based career course enrollment is at 30 students from Roosevelt High School, Town View High School, and South Oak Cliff High School. We are currently only funded to offer our programs for Dallas Independent School District. We are looking to serve other schools in Collin County/Wylie Independent School District, Denton County, and Tarrant County. The low income schools we are intent to offer services upon additional funding include:
1. Collin County/Wylie Independent School District

  1. Community High School
  2. Farmersville High School
  3. Collin  County JJAEP
  1. Denton County Independent School District
  1. Denton County JJAEP
  2. Fred Moore High School
  3. Lake Dallas High School
  1. Tarrant County Independent School District
  1. Arlington Collegiate High School
  2. Arlington Heights High School
  3. Azle High School

Transcend STEM currently utilizes volunteers and two certified STEM trainers/facilitators to provide trainings and proctor exams. We would like to add six more trainers/facilitators in order to place two in each school district. 

Current STEM based curricula activities are being held two days a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from  4:30pm -6:30pm. Activities are held at the following locations:

    • South Oak Cliff High School
    • Roosevelt High School 
    • Townview High School ( all 3 are in South Dallas) 

Workforce Development and Career Pathways  are full-time programs. 

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