Why does STEM matter to your organization?
STEM is critical to continued innovation and new products that can help make the world a better place. STEM is also a key part of a healthy economy, business growth and stronger communities and good jobs. People with STEM backgrounds find careers in every part of our economy including aerospace, medicine, construction, energy, environment, farming and finance. All of the education and economic data tell us that as more people retire, we are going to be challenged to replace them with workers who will provide creativity to drive continued growth and innovation.
What is your organization doing about it?
BISEC, a coalition of business and industry associations that has a vested interest in the creation of a vibrant STEM workforce, supports systemic change to STEM education where all children, youth and adults are encouraged to be scientifically literate and have opportunities to pursue STEM careers. We encourage volunteerism as well as community and parental involvement as key elements to foster an increase in individuals pursuing STEM careers. Recognizing the necessity for strategic partnerships and utilizing unique organizational strengths, we collaborate with professional societies, philanthropic and education organizations and STEM thought leaders.
Has your organization been successful at reaching its STEM goals? (Please feel free to point to specific programs.)
Our goals are broad and long-term. Although we have not reached them together we are taking action to:
- Increase the number of STEM graduates from high school through graduate school, such as increasing STEM bachelors’ degrees to 400,000 annually by 2020.
- Achieve meaningful employer engagement in STEM in all 50 states.
- Improve the quality and impact of our business-led or supported STEM programs towards an increase in our nation’s student achievement.
- Articulate and publicize our industries’ scientific and technical achievements and contributions to society to attract our future workforce.
If you could have three wishes granted by the STEM genie, what would they be?
- All students would be provided opportunities to participate in proven project-based, hands-on STEM experiential learning activities that are aligned with national goals for STEM education.
- Every STEM classroom would be led by a trained and effective teacher.
- Employers in every community would engage in early identification and mentoring to nurture students with aptitudes for STEM – especially students from groups that are underrepresented in the STEM workforce – and then attract and retain them in STEM career tracks.
Beyond your organization, what one thing should be done now to help solve the STEM crisis?
Turn off the computer, the video games and the TV. Send children outdoors with their friends to explore, to play and to experience the world first-hand because real-life experiences are what inspire imagination, innovation and breathe life into designs. We also must get back to basics and reinforce the importance of role models, mentors and incentives and motivations to work hard.