CPB awards nearly $1 million in innovation grants to develop new educational media for youth audiences

Iowa PBS, Connecticut Public, WHYY, WKU Public Broadcasting develop local programs

January 14, 2020

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 14, 2020) –The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has awarded $946,863 to four locally owned and operated public media stations to develop new educational media for youth. Projects range from innovative ways youth can explore science phenomena; an interactive online program focused on public media journalism, media literacy and the practice of civil debate for young people in middle school; an opportunity to learn from students with autism spectrum disorder regarding how to generate meaningful content for and by them; and a specialized training program for students to learn how to further their media skills and work toward a career.

“Through the successful CPB-funded American Graduate initiative to help young people stay on the path to a high school diploma, we learned that education relevant to students’ interests helps keep them engaged through school and career and ultimately as productive citizens,” said Pat Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Public media’s local presence enables them to engage directly with the communities they serve in ways that are responsive to the changing needs of Americans of all ages. These four projects are just a few examples of public media’s commitment to helping the successor generation succeed.”

Awarded for an 18-month to two-year period of work, these station projects are:

  • Iowa PBS Iowa Science Phenomena Project ($193,065). Iowa Public Television will work with Iowa teachers and organizational partners to develop an online service that curates and shares a growing collection of science phenomena media for use in classrooms. (Science phenomena are observable science events which can help drive student inquiry.) The Iowa Science Phenomena project will build awareness of instructional strategies anchored in local science phenomena; support educators in identifying local science phenomena relevant to student interests and experiences; evaluate and enhance an online system for teachers to share their local phenomena; and implement a process for evaluating the quality of user-generated submissions. 
  • Connecticut Public Thinkalong ($300,000). Connecticut Public will expand the use of Thinkalong, an interactive online program that leverages public media journalism and education resources to introduce media literacy, critical thinking, and the practice of civil debate to middle school-age youth. Thinkalong utilizes curated resources from PBS, NPR, Connecticut Public and other public media stations across Connecticut in its outreach to middle schools, middle school teachers, parents and out-of-school programs (OST) serving middle school-aged youth.
  • Western Kentucky University Public Broadcasting Embracing Differences, Finding Strengths: A Public Broadcasting Model for Autism Inclusion ($246,863). WKU, in partnership with the Western Kentucky University Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex, established the David Brinkley Student Employment Fellowship Program for WKU students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The fellowships provide training and support advancement of WKU students with ASD. It also provides WKU Public Broadcasting with an opportunity to learn from the students' neuro-diverse perspectives on how to generate content for and by individuals with ASD. WKU Public Broadcasting will evaluate ASD inclusion efforts, determine the best practices for integrating ASD employees into the station’s local workforce, and scale efforts to other businesses and organizations.
  • WHYY (Philadelphia) Pathways to Careers, ($207,032). Pathways to Careers will create a specialized training program for 80 students to help them further their media skills and learn how to market themselves as freelancers. The program, building on a WHYY Media Labs pilot project, creates paid work experiences where youth can put the media skills directly into action. WHYY will launch an Entrepreneurship Academy for Pathways to Careers students to provide them with one week of training at the end of the summer internship experience to teach students to market their media skills as freelance contractors.


About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, and subscribe for other updates.


Categories: CPB Funding, Education