Lenovo and NAF Celebrate 10 Years of Helping Students Be Future-Ready

Decade-long, evolving partnership has impacted 11,000 high school students across the U.S. with hands-on learning, scholarships, in-kind donations, and more

Committed to its vision of providing smarter technology for all, Lenovo joined forces with NAF— a national education non-profit that brings schools and businesses together to support high school students’ efforts to be future ready and prepare them for college, a career, and future success—to engage students from under-invested communities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. This year, Lenovo and NAF are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their partnership. What began in 2013 as a local educator searching for more work-based learning opportunities for their students in North Carolina, has blossomed into a national, multi-faceted partnership dedicated to shaping the next generation of innovators.

In 2015, the organizations, in partnership with MIT App Inventor, launched the Lenovo Scholar Network, a mobile app competition, equipping high school students from NAF academies across the U.S with Lenovo devices and challenging them to develop mobile apps that are of service in their classrooms and communities. The program was successful in piquing students’ interests in coding and STEM careers, as well as helping them gain the high-tech skills critical for today’s job market. 

An important component of the partnership is the work-based learning opportunities provided to students and increasing access to opportunity. Throughout the last decade, Lenovo has hired 180 interns from NAF academies to fill a variety of crucial roles. NAF academy students work at Lenovo for six weeks, enabling them to gain communication, project management, and teamwork skills. In return, NAF students have offered a fresh, diverse perspective to Lenovo’s employees and business.

Today, Lenovo has diversified its partnership with NAF, by shifting investments into KnoPro, NAF’s new, FREE, web-based platform available to any high school student in the U.S. (i.e. students learning at 9th to 12th grade level), even those outside of NAF academies, to gain professional experience in a way like never before!. We believe that every student deserves access to rewarding work-based learning opportunities, and by participating in KnoPro, students tackle real-world problems faced by business leaders, receive expert feedback from industry mentors, and compete for cash prizes and scholarships. During its pilot phase, Lenovo co-developed and sponsored KnoPro’s ‘Technology Inclusion Challenge’, tasking students with pitching an innovative product idea aimed at those who may experience underrepresentation in traditional education. Building on the success of the first challenge, NAF and Lenovo recently launched the ‘Future Ready Tech Challenge’, prompting students to explore how cutting-edge technology can improve career readiness.

Throughout the last decade, the collaboration between Lenovo and NAF has been unwavering in its commitment to ensuring that all students—regardless of their background or capabilities—have equitable access to the opportunities and resources that are vital for success in a world increasingly driven by technology. The impact of the partnership has been significant:

  • More than 6,000 students actively participated in the Lenovo Scholar Network from 2015 to 2022.
  • 180 NAF students have completed an internship at Lenovo, whether in-person or virtually.
  • 644 Lenovo devices were donated to students, fostering digital empowerment, and equal opportunities.
  • More than 11,000 students across 21 states have felt the positive impact of the partnership, whether through donations, mentoring, hands-on learning, or internships.
  • 1,417 Lenovo volunteers have participated in Work-Based Learning (WBL) events, including worksite tours, mock interviews, and guest speaker sessions that aim to enhance students’ career preparedness.

It has been an honor to reflect on our decade-long partnership and celebrate the milestones and impact that we have been able to make together! We look forward to the contributions to come and continuing to support today’s high school students, who will be the changemakers of tomorrow.

To learn more about NAF, visit www.naf.org


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