In his State of the Union, President Obama emphasized the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, calling for 10,000 of America’s best science and math teachers to improve STEM efforts. Thanks to the immersion of technology in everyday life, STEM has been in the educational spotlight for many years now. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration, the growth in STEM jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs over the last 10 years. Moreover, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent over the next decade. Are our nation’s kids prepared for an increasingly high-tech workplace?
At the event, I was joined by Sydney, a member from Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, Md., who spoke to participants about STEM programs at her Club. She was fabulous!
I recently participated in an Executive Roundtable on the importance of enhancing STEM education in out-of-school time programs, which was hosted by 4-H and the Noyce Foundation. This event was a unique opportunity for six of the nation’s largest youth development organizations to exchange knowledge on current efforts and discuss future program possibilities for STEM workforce readiness. In fact, a Boys & Girls Club youth, Sydney, showcased our current STEM efforts during the Roundtable.
Supporting more than 20 million youth collectively, these six youth development organizations – 4-H, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts, YMCA and, of course my organization, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) – have the opportunity to dramatically change the STEM educational landscape. High-level outcomes from the Executive Roundtable discussion include:
- Securing CEO commitment from the nation’s largest out-of-school providers to explore collaborative efforts;
- Developing a common set of youth impact metrics in STEM education; and
- Building a national programmatic collaboration – backed by key partner organizations and corporate funders – that supports high-quality, hands-on STEM learning opportunities for our nation’s youth, particularly those who live in under-resourced communities.
Kimberly Boyd is BGCA's national vice president of Program, Training and Youth Development Services.
As we continue ramping up our STEM efforts, BGCA looks forward to continuing this discussion and collaborating with other youth development organizational leaders to reach talented, under-served youth.