Over the last few decades, South San Francisco (SSF) 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, cultural vibrancy and vitality, or diversity of people and ideas, other complex challenges have emerged – particularly in the school system.

52% of SSF students are from groups underrepresented in the sciences, and at some schools in the district the population of English language learners is as high as 50%. While schools here have higher graduation rates than the state average, test scores – particularly in mathematics – remain below the state average.1 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 and prepare them for the dynamic job opportunities available to them locally.

Futurelab is Genentech’s STEM education initiative that supports all 8,000 K-12 students in the SSF Unified School District (SSFUSD) by 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.

We have invested more than $35 million in science education locally since 2015, and our employees have volunteered more than 75,000 hours in classrooms and as mentors. We’ve been a member of the SSF community for nearly 50 years and are proud that our longstanding partnership with SSFUSD is helping to inspire the next generation of diverse STEM talent locally. We’ve also invested an additional $10 million in Futurelab+ to scale the impact of the program across the SF Bay Area, California and beyond to reach even more students pursuing a lifelong exploration of science.

Futurelab and Futurelab+ are part of Genentech’s enterprise-wide Kindergarten to Careers commitment to build pathways into Genentech and the broader healthcare industry for the next generation of diverse talent in science and medicine. Through Kindergarten to Careers, we are supporting students along all stages of the STEM education continuum, from their earliest school years through post-secondary education and early-in-career opportunities.


1 South San Francisco Unified.