The United States has fallen far behind other countries in preparing people to work in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. According to the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, the United States ranks 47th out of 144 developed countries in its quality of mathematics and science education.
High school graduation rates are low in underserved communities. Even when students do graduate, many are unprepared for college-level math and science.
And yet, 70 percent of the fastest-growing occupations over the next 10 years will be in STEM-related fields—and they depend on workers with high-level math and problem-solving skills.
STEMconnector was created to promote effective STEM education opportunities—particularly for minority and female students—in the United States.
To meet future workforce needs, thousands of organizations have begun to develop programs to increase interest in STEM careers.
These organizations include academic institutions, corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, government programs, trade associations, and professional societies.
Yet many are unaware of each other, don’t understand their role in the overall STEM infrastructure, or lack data that proves the effectiveness of their programs.
With Cisco’s support, STEMconnector and its website, STEMconnector.org, became the first national effort to identify, inventory, and analyze these disparate STEM programs across the United States.
With donated Cisco WebEx and Telepresence technology and cash grants, STEMconnector bridges the gap between thousands of STEM organizations and increases communication among thought leaders.
STEMconnector recognizes achievement and leadership, conducts original research, and convenes various stakeholders in STEM education and workforce development.
Through careful analysis, STEMconnector shows which programs have proven effective in advancing STEM education, training, and career progress.
STEMconnector has filled a vital need for STEM stakeholders who want to share their work and best practices, but avoid duplication of effort.
Cisco’s donations helped STEMconnector improve its ability to conduct research and data mining, to help inform stakeholders of breaking news electronically, and to produce landmark studies like the “Where are the STEM Students? What are Their Career Interests?” Where are the STEM Jobs?” report.
The STEM Results Project identified, inventoried, classified, and analyzed more than 5000 STEM organizations in 2012.
The landmark “Where are the STEM Students? What are Their Career Interests?” Where are the STEM Jobs?” report mapped the 1 million students interested in STEM careers to the growing demand for STEM jobs in all 50 states.
STEMconnector has enlisted the support of more than 147 for-profit and nonprofit partners, such as Cisco, University of Phoenix, Pepsico, Wal-Mart, Cargill, KPMG, Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, and Diversified Research.
Many have come to see STEMconnector as the de facto source of best practices.
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