You may have seen Verizon’s new commercial featuring famous athletes like LeBron James and Drew Brees. But instead of promoting Verizon’s newest wireless plan, they are encouraging kids to rethink plans to follow in their footsteps and pursue jobs in science and tech—industries that currently have 4 million job openings.

To help kids see a new world of possibilities waiting for them in these fields, Verizon, through its Verizon Innovative Learning initiative #WeNeedMore, has committed $160 million in free tech, free access and hands-on immersive learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for middle and high school students in need. Along the way, students are empowered to be content creators, problem-solvers, and responsible consumers of digital media.

For the 5th Annual Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge, hundreds of students, working in teams, identified a pressing issue in their community and came up with a creative app concept to solve for it. Winners tackled a range of issues, including health, hunger, civic engagement, and education — offering a glimpse into what matters to young people today.

Beyond app development, students have also had the opportunity to create innovative STEM projects with the help of Verizon Innovative Learning. Some of the projects include: free, interactive labs in El Paso, Texas that show kids how to use new technologies like virtual reality, robotics and 3-D printing; a three-week summer camp on a college campus in Austin, Texas where students with little exposure to technology can learn about entrepreneurship, technology and communications; and a Genius Hour where students can use their tablets to find their passions and create their own learning plans.

MORE: 20 Amazing STEM innovations by kids across the United States

The company says it’s campaign is impacting 300,000 kids in 1,900 schools and clubs across the country through its partnerships with leading nonprofits. For students who have taken part in the programs, 64% are more interested in attending college and 53% are more interested in STEM careers.

For more on the initiative, click here.

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