Griffin Technology is proud to play an important role in the Nashville Academies Program and has joined with 400 other Nashville-area businesses to make a difference in the lives of high school students. Griffin Technology CEO and Antioch High School graduate Mark Rowan talks about the company’s involvement in this guest column that ran in The Tennessean’s Sept. 12 issue.
“When the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce came to Griffin Technology and asked us to become part of the Academies of Nashville program, I knew that our partnership with the Hunters Lane Academy of Design and Technology would be an opportunity to instill in high school students a love of learning and to provide them with the tools they need to pursue careers in the highly competitive technology field.
Early in the partnership, Griffin donated Macintosh desktop computers to introduce iOS app development to the students in the programming pathway. We then set out to support that technology with staff hours to make sure the educators and students were able to use the equipment effectively.
The administration and teachers at Hunters Lane responded with great enthusiasm and professionalism. Griffin has since hosted career development days and provided job shadowing externships to give teachers the understanding and confidence to do what they do best: teach young people. And this fall, we will be guiding a group of academy students who will develop their own technology product.
So why are we doing this? In this increasingly technological world, students need a 21st-century education to prosper in the 21st-century workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Tennessee will have 100,000 STEM jobs by 2018, and we want to be part of the effort to develop home-grown talent for this rapidly growing field. Also, because of the nature of our business, much of which involves products used in education, we’ve been able to take ideas and feedback from students and actually work them into our product development.
The Academies of Nashville was created by Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce as a way to bring business and civic engagement into the school system in a meaningful way, creating smaller learning communities for students in which they hone skills in the context of a particular field. Some 400 area businesses participate as sponsors and mentors.
I know the Griffin partnership with Hunters Lane will continue to pay dividends for everyone involved. I recently spoke with an academy senior who is thinking about his future as a college student. He shared his thought process about choosing the mechanical and robotics engineering program at Middle Tennessee State University as his area of study over straight programming. Why? He learned in his programming class at Hunters Lane that code can be used to control mechanical devices, not just computers. It is experiences such as this one that make Griffin’s involvement in education so meaningful.
Griffin is proud to stand with Metro Nashville Public Schools and with the students and faculty at the Griffin Academy of Design and Technology at Hunters Lane. I commend other area businesses that are working with the Academies program, and I hope many others get involved.
Mark Rowan is president of Griffin Technology and a proud alumnus of Metro Nashville Public Schools (Antioch High School).”