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Over the last few decades, South San Francisco has transformed from an industrial city — filled with steel mills and paint factories — into one of the largest biotech hubs in the United States. And while the city hasn’t lost its small-town feel or diversity of people and ideas, other complex challenges, particularly in the school system, emerged.

In South San Francisco, more than 30% of students are English language learners and 48% are from groups underrepresented in the sciences. While schools here have higher graduation rates than the state average, only one in three students goes on to attend a four-year university. These statistics, coupled with the fact that half of students lose interest in STEM subjects by eighth grade, underscore a gap - and opportunity - to engage students in STEM, from Kindergarten to Careers, and prepare them for the dynamic job opportunities available to them locally.

Futurelab is Genentech’s STEM education initiative that supports all 9,000 K-12 students in the South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD), getting them excited to learn about science, improving their college readiness, and inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Futurelab offers four unique programs for students at different stages of their educational journey: Gene Academy, Helix Cup, Science Garage, and Futurelab Scholarships.

Genentech and the Genentech Foundation have invested more than $32.5 million in science education locally since 2015, and our employees have volunteered more than 65,000 hours in classrooms and as mentors. Over the next four years, we will invest an additional $10 million in Futurelab+ to expand the program across the Bay Area and California to reach more students pursuing a lifelong exploration of science.