Miami, Fla. – Florida Memorial University, Miami’s only HBCU, is part of a major partnership for a scholarship program for underprivileged kids living in the Miami pursuing careers in STEM and other technology related jobs.

The city is partnering with Venture Miami, the Miami Foundation and technology companies to launch the scholarship program to benefit city residents who are planning to enroll in local colleges and universities.

FMU is among the schools along with the University of Miami, Florida International University and Miami-Dade College collaborating as academic partners.

The program was launched with an initial $500,000 allocation from the city, which is being matched by FMU and the local colleges and universities involved.

"This opportunity has great potential to positively impact our university and our community," FMU said in a statement. "STEM curriculums are vital to teaching critical thinking skills and innovation, as well as problem-solving and exploratory learning.

"There is no better way to develop strong foundational skills than hands-on learning with real-world applications. STEM also provides training that makes people more employable and ready to meet the current labor demand.”

FMU said the STEM scholarship program offers free tuition to high school graduates residing in Miami who are accepted to FMU to pursue a degree in a STEM field. Applicants pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, Computer Science, IT or Healthcare are eligible.

During a recent press conference at City Hall, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the scholarship partnership is part of his plan to make the city the STEM and technology hub of the U.S.

He said Venture Miami, the Miami foundation, tech companies, FMU and the other local colleges and universities are making it all possible.

“Today marks a momentous milestone for the City of Miami,” Suarez said. “The whole purpose behind the Miami Movement was to create a boundless stream of opportunities for our residents to jump-start their careers in the economy of tomorrow, and the Venture Miami Scholarship does just that."

Suarez added that the initiative curates philanthropy in a high impact way.

The University of Miami (UM) is on board for the new STEM scholarship program, officials said.

“The University of Miami is a global leader in research, innovation, and technology advancement, and we are in full support of the Venture Miami initiative to grow our community for generations to come,” said John Haller, vice president for enrollment management. “Our connection to the Venture Miami Scholarship partnership with the City of Miami will ensure that the University of Miami will continue to attract and provide an exceptional education to high achieving students throughout the South Florida community.”

Jeffrey L. Duerk, UM’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said the university takes pride in contributing to the betterment of the local community.

He credits FMU and the other local colleges and universities for also getting involved in the STEM scholarship program to help students reach their career goals.

“We understand the importance of investing in our community and providing our high school graduates an opportunity to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics,” Duerk said. “More than a concentration on any one of these fields, higher education is currently flourishing in an era of heightened connection and collaboration between disciplines and institutions.”

The Miami Foundation is in charge of managing the scholarship funding and execution.

Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, president and CEO of the foundation, said public and private sector collaboration on promoting education allows Miami to become a city of opportunity for everyone. “The Venture Miami Scholarship will make sure that our growing tech and innovation ecosystem reflects the rich diversity of our vibrant Miami community, by putting education and learning into the hands of all those who are our future workforce,” she said.

Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin is also opening his company’s budget for the STEM scholarship program.

Griffin, an entrepreneur and investor who recently relocated his investment firm from Chicago to Miami’s financial district, said the partnership will help break financial barriers for students who are pursuing careers in STEM.

"It further accelerates Miami’s path to becoming an international leader in finance and technology," he said.

Griffin has issued a $1 million challenge grant to build sustainability for the fund, in addition to an initial $250,000 gift.

Venture Miami Scholarship funds will be available for the spring 2023 semester.

For other information visit nturemiamifund.