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NetApp expands Data Explorers program to bridge the data skills gap

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Dave Kim
David Kim

NetApp believes that data is a force for good to propel our world forward. Whether we’re helping organizations across all sectors grow, fueling the data behind new technology, or helping bridge the digital divide, NetApp is driving innovation to shape new realities.

As data becomes more significant across all aspects of our lives, we must ensure that all young people have the opportunity to build the skills to work with data. And we must address students in underserved communities who are getting left behind. This will be a critical factor in addressing not only societal challenges, but also how the next generation competes in a global economy and fills talent needs around disruptive technology. Thus, building data skills should be a crucial part of students’ education.

Yet according to data literacy experts, data learning experiences are rare in today’s classrooms, and there are significant racial and gender gaps in data literacy for underserved communities around the world. For example, in the United States, fourth-grade Black students scored 28 points lower than their white peers in the Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability section of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math exam.

Closing the skills gap

Through NetApp’s Data Explorers program, we are working to close the data literacy and skills gap. Data Explorers partners with leading STEM and youth development nonprofits worldwide to teach 10- to 18-year-olds data skills and how to problem-solve topics that they care about. Students build awareness, investigate, visualize, and interpret complex datasets—exploring topics aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals such as change, ending poverty, and quality education.

Students ask questions, identify needs, and create their own ideas for change. Using the tested Data Explorers curriculum, we’re implementing this multi-month program in after-school and school settings in under-resourced communities. To reach even more students, we support a shorter, 1-hour data lesson, “Be a Fact-ivist,” through our collaboration with World’s Largest Lesson, a global education program from Project Everyone, in partnership with UNICEF, UNESCO, and a worldwide network of educators. To date, our initiatives have reached thousands of students around the world, but there are millions more to be reached.

Collaborating with customers and partners to reach more communities

To scale our impact, we've invited our customers and partners to deepen and expand data literacy together—with a focus on students in underserved communities. At NetApp INSIGHT® 2023, participants gathered to address the ever-changing data and data infrastructure landscape. Attendees started off by visiting the NetApp® Social Impact and Inclusion lounge in the exhibit hall where they learned more about the importance of providing more opportunities for young people to work with data. 

If you attended NetApp INSIGHT® 2023 and are still looking for an opportunity to make a difference by expanding data literacy, NetApp is offering multiple levels of engagement for attendees to give back with your company through NetApp’s Data Explorers program and generate up to $100K in microgrants for eligible schools and nonprofits. Join NetApp as we help build student’s data literacy and reach out to to learn more.

David Kim

David Kim, NetApp’s first Chief Diversity Officer, drives the strategy and vision for DI&B, including recruiting, hiring, career development, and representation and overseeing NetApp’s Social Impact program.

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