WASHINGTON, July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- At a White House meeting today with President Obama and US business leaders to address education reform, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) pledged to contribute $10 million toward education over the next five years, with at least one-third of the funds going toward drop-out prevention in the lowest performing schools in the United States. This commitment continues the company's long-term support of science education, literacy skills, teacher development, and reduction in dropout rates. GSK will also dedicate a minimum of two of the company's PULSE volunteers to programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and drop-out prevention initiatives in the United States.
Deirdre Connelly, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline said, "GSK has a vested interest in ensuring that future generations graduate from high schools and colleges. America's youth play a critical role in the strength of our future economy, and we rely on a highly-educated workforce to stay competitive in a global healthcare marketplace. For more than 20 years, GSK has invested our time, money, and volunteer efforts to ensure that kids complete their education and are encouraged to pursue STEM careers. Investing in education will help ensure that innovative industries like pharmaceuticals and healthcare continue to be an important part of our economy."
Today's pledge is in addition to a $5 million gift from GSK to the City of Philadelphia earlier this year. That money will be allocated to programs dedicated to the development of young people so they can excel in the 21st century workforce.
GSK supports a number of programs designed to improve the education and healthcare of children and their families in the communities where employees live and work.
- GSK supports the America's Promise Alliance's Dropout Prevention Initiative, including Grad Nation. Dropout Prevention Summits are being held across the US to help identify strategies for improved high school graduation outcomes.
- GSK is partnering with the North Carolina New Schools Project to provide innovative instructional methodologies such as the use of inquiry-, project-, and problem-based learning to ten existing STEM schools. Overall, the 107 secondary schools in the New Schools Project have half the dropout rate of conventional schools in NC. Forty-six of those schools have a zero drop-out rate.
- GSK's Science Ambassadors place scientists in the classroom to encourage students to pursue careers in science, and to broaden children's understanding of science through hands-on experiment kits and a mobile learning lab. A number of our scientists also serve as judges and mentors in science fairs.
- The company encourages all employees to volunteer with schools and nonprofit organizations. GSK awards $500 to any qualifying organization or school where an employee or their spouse/domestic partner volunteers for at least 50 hours per year.
- Science in the Summer is GSK's free science education program, now in its 25th year, which sparks an interest in science for approximately 5,000 elementary school children each year in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Through hands-on science experiments and demonstrations, the library-based classes help prevent summer slide, demonstrate how science is related to everyday life, and encourage careers in the sciences.
- GSK sponsors the Opportunity Scholarship program, which has endowments of $1 million in North Carolina and Philadelphia. Scholarships are awarded to individuals who have overcome serious adversity and are changing their lives through education.