STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
Nearly 80% of future careers will require some STEM skills. STEM education is essential for developing the basic analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking skills central to academic achievement and workforce readiness in the 21st century.
Out-of-school time programs are strategically positioned to offer additional time and the opportunity to diversify the ways that youth experience STEM learning. Out-of-school time STEM education provides intentional and relevant learning opportunities by offering innovative hands-on learning.
According to the Afterschool Alliance (2015), high-quality STEM afterschool programs produce positive outcomes:
- Improved attitudes toward STEM fields and careers
- Increased STEM capacities and skills
- Higher likelihood of graduation and pursuing a STEM career
The West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network, through generous support from the Noyce Foundation was the recipient of an Afterschool and STEM System Building planning grant. Planning grants are designed to promote collaborations in the development of statewide partnerships for innovative informal science education efforts. This effort resulted in a comprehensive strategic plan for STEM in out-of-school time for West Virginia focused on Access, Capacity, and Impact. The results of the strategic plan will assist in infusing STEM into expanded learning, afterschool and summer programs.
Even though everyday life surrounds us with obvious STEM applications, it can still be challenging to make the case for meaningful reforms in STEM learning. It’s harder still when it comes to afterschool settings. Whether you’re talking with a policy maker, a funder, or potential community or school partners, there are common framing strategies that can help make a powerful argument for why afterschool STEM matters. The themes represented in the talking points and other advocacy materials are based on careful communications research—so advocates can have confidence that they are reliable, tested ways of positioning afterschool STEM.
Changing the Game for Girls in STEM
A white paper calls fro a collective effort to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM, and most importantly features concrete strategies for what is required for girls to succeed in STEM subjects and STEM fields.
Charging stations rely on power grids to provide energy and connectivity. STEM Next acts as a power grid for the charging stations of STEM learning – schools, afterschool and summer programs, youth centers, science museums, libraries, universities, and the private sector.