E3 Ties to National Education Goals

STEM Ventures is proud to announce expansion of our Experiential Learning program to include more Colorado students, businesses and universities, with the addition of the University of Wyoming. Experiential Learning – engaging, exciting and educating students, teachers and parents about STEM careers is critical to our national success. At a National Academy of Sciences event in April of 2013, President Obama said: “We want to make sure that we are exciting young people around math and science and technology and computer science. We don’t want our kids just to be consumers of the amazing things that science generates; we want them to be producers as well. And we want to make sure that those who historically have not participated in the sciences as robustly — girls, members of minority groups here in this country; that they are encouraged as well.”

GirlsExperimentSTEM Ventures Experiential Learning programs are being designed to help achieve two of the five critical goals identified in President Obama’s Five Year Strategic plan for Federal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education. Those national goals are:

1. Increase and sustain youth and public engagement in STEM. Support a 50 percent increase in the number of U.S. youth who have an effective, authentic STEM experience each year prior to completing high school, and

2.  Better serve groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields. Increase the number of underrepresented minorities that graduate college with STEM degrees in the next 10 years and improve women’s participation in areas of STEM where they are significantly underrepresented.

The five strategic goals also include plans to prepare 100,000 new STEM educators, enhancing the experience of STEM undergraduate students, and better designing graduate education.

Current research shows that engaging, exciting and educating our youth about STEM subjects through experiential learning opportunities increases their odds of success in STEM education and careers. With our Experiential Learning E3 programs, STEM Ventures is combining latest research with the expertise of industry and leading academic institutions to create such opportunities, with a vision of expanding the programs to include students across the state and students from under-represented groups such as females, minorities and some rural students.

Increasing opportunities for young Americans to gain strong STEM skills is essential if the United States is to continue its remarkable record of success in science and innovation. Numerous advances, from mapping the human genome to discovering water on Mars to developing the Internet, would not have been possible without a skilled and creative STEM workforce. New technologies and STEM knowledge lie at the core of our ability to manufacture better, smarter products, improve health care, preserve the environment, and safeguard national security. Individuals prepared with the skills and knowledge to invent, build, install, and operate those new technologies are essential. STEM knowledge and skills are in even greater demand as the United States confronts a fiercely competitive international marketplace where the advantage goes to companies that are the first to invent and produce innovative UW 2 girlsproducts. From 2000 to 2010, the growth in STEM jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. The Department of Commerce estimates that in the coming years STEM occupations will grow 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations. Let’s work together to prepare our young people to create the America of the future!

Why does STEM matter? According to a report by the President’s National Science and Technology Council, “the health and longevity of our Nation’s, citizenry, economy and environmental resources depend in large part on the acceleration of scientific and technological innovations, such as those that improve health care, inspire new industries, protect the environment, and safeguard us from harm. Maintaining America’s historical preeminence in the STEM fields will require a concerted and inclusive effort to ensure that the STEM workforce is equipped with the skills and training needed to excel in these fields.”

Unfortunately, evidence indicates that current educational pathways are not leading to a sufficiently large and well-trained STEM workforce to achieve this goal. Thus it is essential that the United States enhance U.S. students’ engagement in STEM disciplines and inspire and equip many more students to excel in STEM. Investing in STEM education is critical to the Nation for many reasons:

1. The jobs of the future are STEM jobs: The demand for professionals in STEM fields is projected to outpace the supply of trained workers and professionals. Additionally, STEM competencies are increasingly required for workers both within and outside specific STEM occupations. A recent report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) estimates there will be one million fewer STEM graduates over the next decade than U.S. industries will need.

2. Our K-12 system is “middle of the pack” in international comparisons: Among 33 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries that participated in a recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, designed to assess whether students can use their STEM knowledge in real-life situations, 12 countries had higher scores than did the United States in science and 17 had higher scores in mathematics.

3. Progress on STEM is critical to building a just and inclusive society: STEM participation and achievement statistics are especially disturbing for women and minorities, who are substantially underrepresented in STEM fields. While earning a STEM degree is one important milestone in pursuing a STEM career, just 2.2 percent of Hispanics and Latinos and 2.7 percent of African Americans, have earned a first university degree in the natural sciences or engineering by age 24. While women constitute the majority of students on college campuses and roughly 46 percent of the workforce, they represent less than one in five bachelor’s recipients in fields like computer science and engineering, and hold only 25 percent of STEM jobs.