Closing the Achievement and Diversity Gap in STEM, from Pre-K through Employment

STEM jobs are growing faster than any other sector of the U.S. economy, and demand for core STEM competencies is intensifying across all industries. Yet, despite considerable efforts to diversify the STEM talent pool, girls and women and other historically underrepresented groups are still lagging behind in accessing these opportunities. Equipping all students with critical STEM skills will fuel innovation and increase economic mobility for millions of young Americans. In 2016, attendees in the STEM Education Working Group will advance strategies that increase engagement and broaden participation in high-quality STEM education.

2016 Subtopics

Early STEM

Early exposure to STEM through play and hands-on learning can stimulate the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as enhance later interest and achievement in STEM. Attendees will explore strategies to nurture STEM and digital literacy for young learners.

Computer Science Education

Computational literacy is a critical skill for the future workforce. Attendees will explore strategies to expand computer science education in and out of the classroom, support professional development for teachers, and increase student engagement, especially among girls and underrepresented minorities.

STEM Beyond the Classroom

The time outside of classroom instruction presents an enormous opportunity to engage students in nontraditional learning environments that can spark interest in STEM. Attendees will develop strategies to advance high-quality STEM programming in afterschool and out-of-school settings.

STEM Middle-Skill Training

Middle-skill STEM jobs, which do not require a four-year college degree, represent half of all STEM jobs and offer attractive wages and promising career opportunities. Attendees will develop strategies to scale effective middle-skill training models that expose and prepare high-school students for rewarding jobs in high-growth industries, including IT and advanced manufacturing.

Innovative Commitments

STEM-TEK (STEM Transforming Eastern Kentucky)

Commitment by: East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Inc.; Project Lead the Way (PLW)
Commitment Partners: Morehead State University; SOAR Kentucky

In 2015, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative and PLTW committed to implement PLTW’s K-12 STEM curriculum in 177 schools in Eastern Kentucky, providing professional development for 3,000 teachers, and engaging over 82,000 students in high-quality project-based STEM learning. To retain STEM talent in the region, STEM-TEK will also provide incentives for students to pursue postsecondary STEM degrees in local higher education institutions.

SEED: Coalitions for Community Growth

Commitment by: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Commitment Partners: U.S. Department Of Energy; U.S. Department of Education; Boys & Girls Clubs of America; National Center for Women & Information Technology; US2020; The Corps Network; GRID Alternatives; Green City Force; Creating IT Futures Foundation; Denver Housing Authority; Tampa Electric Company; Johnson Controls, Inc.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development committed to launch SEED, a place-based initiative to connect public housing residents in 20 cities across the United States to STEM education and jobs. Over the course of three years, 8,000 students will access STEM learning opportunities, 1,000 residents will participate in STEM workforce development programs, and 1,000 individuals will obtain employment.

Improving Education for All Through Free Professional Development

Commitment by: Pragmatic Solutions, Inc.
Commitment Partners: University of North Texas; TechMatters LLC; Digital Promise; Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation; Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education

In 2015, simSchool committed to offer all K-12 educators at Title 1 schools across the United States free access to the simSchool platform, a research-validated teacher training simulator, for two years. Educators will also be provided with a pathway for earning digital micro-credentials and college-level credit. Through this initiative, commitment partners aim to reach 160,000 educators across 3,700 Title 1 schools nationwide.

NCWIT AspireIT – Early Computing Experiences for Girls

Commitment by: National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
Commitment Partners: Apple; Google; Intel Corporation; Microsoft; Northrop Grumman Foundation; Sphero; Tata Consultancy Services; Tumblehome Learning; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; University of California, Irvine; UC Davis Medical Center

In 2014, NCWIT committed to scale up their AspireIT program, which pairs high school and college women with nonprofit organizations to create and deliver computing programs for middle school girls. Over the course of three years, NCWIT will support more than 600 young women and 250 partner organizations to serve 10,000 middle school girls. To date, NCWIT has begun selecting the additional 40 sites for the program expansion and recruiting program leaders and partner organizations.

Featured Past Participants

Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Dow Chemical
Intel Corporation
Lockheed Martin
Microsoft Corporation
The National Science Foundation
Northrop Grumman
Time Warner Cable