Why should you care?
It's a question Michael has asked himself. And it's the question he asks students through a new community outreach program he launched earlier this year.
In partnership with Junior Achievement (JA), he and other volunteers visit local schools to teach kids about technology, inspiring them to learn its benefits to businesses and them personally. Michael's program shows high schoolers how to wire up and use technologies like Raspberry Pi.
For you non-techies out there, Raspberry Pi is a mini – as in credit card size – computer that can do lots of cool things. Beyond demonstrating the cool factor of tools like that, Michael's program is about getting kids to understand how technology can open doors and prepare them for career opportunities.
Growing up in Georgia, Michael was an at-risk youth himself; he understands first-hand the challenges many kids face. He was motivated to change his life when he saw what happened to so many of his childhood friends who got into trouble. Interested in computers as a kid, he decided to pursue a college degree (as an adult) and then, a career path in the IT field.
When he joined TIAA Bank in 2014, a light bulb went off. He saw the opportunity to share his team's expertise and make a difference for generations to come. And so he developed the outreach program. Its goal: to show kids that there are options beyond the negative influences around them – options that can provide professional and financial success.
"As an organization, we need to connect to our future client base," Michael said. "They come from the communities where we live, and what better way to make a difference than to help the people within those communities reach their full potential."
And that's precisely why we all should care, too!