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49ers Host Leaders in Sports, Tech, & Education; Co-Launch The Sport and STEM Alliance

The Beyond Innovation convening brought together thought leaders across three sectors to discuss better approaches to STEM education.

On Tuesday, May 9th, the San Francisco 49ers hosted at Levi's® Stadium Beyond Innovation presented by Chevron, a one-day event which brought together thought leaders from across the globe in sport, technology and education to engage in productive conversation and find tangible solutions to tackling the improvement of STEM education through sport.

The second installment of this event was held in partnership with the 49ers Foundation and Chevron, whose collaboration on the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI) has provided opportunities for 180 students since 2014 to excel in STEM education through college-preparatory curriculum, state-of-the-art engineering labs and access to role models and mentors.  

49ers S Eric Reid was in attendance to share his story on how sport is supporting STEM Education and helped lead a 49ers STEAM Education Program demonstration building paper footballs – using only scissors and tape – with 49ers SLI students in attendance.

"Education has been instrumental in where I've gotten today," said Reid. "My parents were very strict on me when I was growing up. They said education came first and that I wasn't allowed to play sports unless my grades were right. Because of that, my study habits have transcended into my professional career."

During the event, Beyond Sport, 49ers Foundation, Chevron and Verizon launched The Sport and STEM Alliance – a coalition of like-minded, leading global organizations driving innovation in STEM education through sports. Joining the Founding Members of the Alliance are Two Circles, UNICEF, EverFi, Direct TV, HP and Chelsea Football Club Foundation.

"It's really nice to be among a group of your peers – folks who view the challenges, the opportunities, the responsibility of our work in the same way, but bring an entirely different perspective," said 49ers Director of STEAM Education Jesse Lovejoy. "The York family has worked hard to establish Levi's Stadium as something much more than just a venue – it's an asset to the community – and I think that's really on display here in hosting Beyond Innovation. To be the inflection point around STEM and sports is a great articulation of what the York family envisioned when they designed and executed our STEM programs."

Through the 49ers STEAM Education Program at Levi's Stadium and the 49ers SLI at Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara, Calif., and Santa Clara High School, the 49ers are working to improve STEM education in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

As the leading professional sports organization in the support of STEAM learning concepts for youth, the 49ers STEAM Education Program – housed in the Denise DeBartolo York Education Center in the 49ers Museum presented by Sony, is a four-part field trip experience that includes a STEAM lesson, museum exploration, a Levi's Stadium tour, and a movement lab – leveraging football as a platform in order to connect, inspire and engage each student. It is within this education center where we use football as a platform to teach children how STEAM is relevant for all parts of their world.

Moreover, the 49ers SLI is a six-year curriculum which begins in seventh grade and continues through high school, seeking to prepare students with high academic potential to be outstanding in STEM subjects. The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI)—launched in 2014 as a partnership between the 49ers, Chevron, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and the Santa Clara Unified School District—provides students with more than 330 additional hours of instruction at no cost.

The two programs combined have reached more than 150,000 students – free of charge – since opening in 2014.

And for good reason. 

Over the next decade, 80% of jobs will require STEM skills; responsible, leading, organizations know that their future workforce - and subsequent returns - will rely on the next generation being inspired to engage in STEM education from a young age. STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, and the U.S. is not producing enough candidates to fill them. According to the Department of Education, only 16% of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers.

"To have the home of the 49ers as the backdrop for Beyond Innovation's second-ever convening was special for the 49ers Foundation, which has worked for years to introduce innovative approaches to STEM education through efforts like the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute," said Joanne Pasternack, Vice President & Executive Director of the 49ers Foundation. "The Sport and STEM Alliance will be a force for change as we look for ways to better prepare students for STEM-based careers and the 49ers Foundation is honored to be considered a founding member alongside Beyond Sport, Chevron and Verizon." Visit for more information on The Sport and STEM Alliance

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