Chemours' new ChemFEST program aims to diversify the STEM workforce - Technical.ly Delaware

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Chemours’ new ChemFEST program aims to diversify the STEM workforce

Middle schoolers at two downtown Wilmington schools will be the first to receive enhanced STEM education through the program.

EastSide Charter's Aaron Bass, Chemours' Alvenia Scarborough and Mark Newman, and Serviam's Peggy Prevoznik Heins.

(Courtesy photo)

The Chemours Company, the DuPont spinoff whose product line includes Freon, Ti-pure and Teflon, has officially joined the mission to make the STEM workforce in Delaware and beyond more inclusive.

Its new school partnership program called Chemours Future of Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology — aka ChemFEST — will target under-resourced students in the ever-important middle school demographic. That includes funding for schools in Chemours’ footprint communities around the world, including in Asia, Europe and South America, as well as cities across the US.

In Delaware, the first two anchor schools are EastSide Charter School and Serviam Girls Academy, both located in downtown Wilmington near Chemours’ headquarters in the DuPont Building. Each will receive will receive multi-year financial support for STEM learning activities, lab equipment or other needed resources, in addition to a range of volunteer and program collaborations with Chemours employees.

Chemours will also donate $4 million to EastSide’s new 24,000-square-foot community STEM facility, expected to be completed by summer 2023, and $250,000 for a Chemours STEM Discovery Capstone Program for eighth grade students at Serviam that will begin at the start of the 2022 school year and continue over four years.

“With every school and student we reach we’re nurturing a more capable, inclusive, and diverse future STEM workforce that will be ready for the more than 800,000 openings for jobs in STEM-related fields over the next 20 years,” said Mark Newman, president and CEO of Chemours, in a statement. “I’m extremely proud of ChemFEST, the dedication of Chemours employees around the world to vibrant communities, and to our commitment to helping shape a better world through the power of our chemistry.”

The project is a culmination of a commitment Chemours made in 2020 to develop a school partnership program. Its larger goal is to invest $50 million to “create and sustain vibrant communities.”

Jamaican-born Newman, who helped launch the Chemours Black Employee Network when he was brought into the company as CFO in 2014, began his president/CEO role with in July with diversity and equity as top priorities, even including racism as a workplace safety issue.

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