Episode 41

Mr. October Foundation – Leveling the Playing Field in Stem with Reggie Jackson & Dr. Al Gomez


On today’s episode, we’re talking all about STEM, a field that’s projected to grow 13% in the decade spanning 2017-2027. With this future in sight, I sit down today with MLB Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and Dr. Alan Gomez, two men who respectively serve as the founder and executive director of the Mr. October Foundation. Together, the two share with us the Foundation’s educational goals, its commitment to serving under-privelaged youth, and how they hope for the program to impact and improve communities across the United States. 

Reggie has always been dedicated to helping schools and children, but it wasn’t until someone recommended he become involved in the STEM field that the seeds for the program became planted.

Our conversation begins with Mr. October himself, as Reggie Jackson talks about what drove him to create the Mr. October Foundation in the first place. He explains that while he has always been dedicated to helping schools and children, it wasn’t until someone recommended he become involved in the STEM field that the seeds for the program became planted. Reggie found that while the STEM field is clearly where the future is headed, many minorities were not being provided the educational opportunities needed to introduce them to the field. So, he saw this as a need he was able to help with and began devoting his efforts to supporting and educating minorities, believing it the best way to better develop educational equality. 

The program has been especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic working to ensure that children continue to have hands-on intellectual tools available to them from wherever they may now be learning.

Alan Gomez then shares how he and Reggie became connected and were able to begin developing and branching out the Mr. October Foundation across the country. He explains that the program is designed to help within all community types, whether they be urban, suburban, or rural, and talks about the success they’ve already had with thousands of students in areas such as the Bronx, Detroit, and Oakland. He also emphasizes how important the program has been especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic and how it has worked to ensure that children continue to have hands-on intellectual tools available to them from wherever they may now be learning. They have done so through an educational resource skill kit where students can conduct experiments at home that range from building their own speaker, to growing lettuce, to practicing First Aid. 

More than just preparing children for their own future though, both Reggie and Alan see this type of education as a means to better the community.

Finally, my two guests close our conversation today by discussing that while their program can also help adult learners with retraining or pivoting in their career, they are hoping that by providing the means for children to explore their interests across a number of STEM fields, in the future they will be able to lower the need for someone in their mid-thirties to return to education programs and change careers. More than just preparing children for their own future though, both Reggie and Alan see this type of education as a means to better the community, recognizing that one day these students will be able to contribute to their communities as competent, future employees capable of bringing about social change. 

To learn more about the Mr. October Foundation, its goals for the next 3-5 years, or how you can bring the program into your own community, be sure to listen in! 

“I think there’s a significant benefit when you’re able to include people from different places so that you get different opinions and different philosophies to make the world a better place.”  – Reggie Jackson

Learn more about the Mr. October Foundation at https://mroctober.org/

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