Initiatives Announced to Help Young Women Overcome Roadblocks in STEM Education

Several recent studies have identified the roadblocks that females face in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. These two roadblocks include gender bias in the classroom and too few mentors in K-16 STEM fields. In an attempt to increase opportunities for females in STEM education, both federal and foundation funders have announced programs that will increase scholarship and internship opportunities for young women in STEM fields.

States Explore Ways to Expand Computer Science Initiatives

A computer science education is viewed as a valuable prerequisite for many technology jobs, and, as a result, policymakers are responding to make these programs more ubiquitous. In January, the Obama administration announced his $4 billion Computer Science For All proposal, a nationwide effort to help all students from kindergarten through high school learn computer science. A cross-section of businesses, education leaders, and NGOs launched the Computer Science Education Coalition earlier this week, a nonprofit organization focused on encouraging Congress to invest $250 million or K-12 computer science education investments. These federal funds would complement state efforts – such as those detailed here – and spark further state initiatives to expand computer science education, according to the coalition.

NSF Launches New Inclusion Initiative to Broaden Participation in STEM

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that it would commit up to $12.5 million in pilot grants to test novel ways of broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). NSF INCLUDES will make up to 40 two-year, pilot awards to support STEM efforts that improve the preparation, increase the participation, and ensure the contributions of individuals from groups that traditionally have been underserved and/or underrepresented in the STEM including women, blacks, Hispanics, and people with disabilities. In the FY17 budget proposal, NSF has requested $16 million for larger, five-year alliance awards according to The new initiative was originally proposed in Broadening Participation in America’s STEM Workforce – a 2012 report from an outside committee that advises NSF on diversity issues. Interested parties must submit their pre-proposals by April 15, 2016. More information is available at:

NGA Launches Pilot Program in Six States to Prepare Teens, Millennials for Middle-Skill, STEM Careers

The National Governors Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices launched the 2016 Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning – a pilot program in six states that blends work experience and applied learning to develop youth and young adults’ foundational and technical skills to expand their education, career and employment opportunities. The goal of the program is to connect 16- to 29-year-olds with middle-skills career opportunities in STEM-intensive industries such as advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and energy. The six states that will take part in the 18-month pilot program include Indiana, Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Washington.  Read the press release:

White House, Philanthropic Sector Seek Increased STEM Education Participation

Although the United States remains among the world’s most competitive nations, its ability to effectively deliver quality math and science education hinders its competitiveness, according to the most recent edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.  New commitments ranging from the White House to the philanthropic sector offer opportunities to increase the capacity for American schools to engage in additional STEM activities.

27 U.S. Communities Selected as STEM Learning Ecosystems

The STEM Funders Network (SFN) announced that 27 communities will pilot the national science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Ecosystems Initiative. Launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, the program is intended to nurture and scale effective preK-16 instruction best practices in STEM learning. The new initiative focuses on cultivated cross-sector partnerships with industry, institutions of higher education, government, and foundations to develop specific programs that address the gaps in the community’s current STEM education system. SFN leadership intends to use these 27 communities and future participant communities to develop a platform for a national and regional peer-to-peer professional learning network for communities to share information, expertise and best practices in preK-16 STEM education through meetings, conference calls, web-based meetings, and other web-based methods. Read the announcement…

16.5M Individuals Indicate Job Required STEM-Related Degree in 2010, NSF Report Finds

In 2010, 16.5 million individuals indicated that their job required at least a bachelor's degree level in a STEM field, according to a new report by the National Science Board (NSB) – Revisiting the STEM Workforce.  These positions included many positions that are not traditional thought of as STEM jobs such as sales, marketing, and management. Drawing on its biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report, the NSB's latest report uses data to highlight the growing need for STEM knowledge and skills in the U.S. economy and the importance of developing consensus definition for STEM positions that includes employees across a wide swath of disciplines and job arenas, possessing everything from non-degree certifications to Ph.D.s in STEM fields. The report also includes recommendations to strengthen the U.S. stem workforce via inclusion, workforce and education initiatives that bring together leaders from government, education and business. The NSB is the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation. Read the report…

Percentage of S&E College Grads Grows, But Not S&E Employment

Although the percentage of college graduates with science and engineering (S&E) or S&E-related majors has increased, the proportion of college graduates employed in an S&E occupation has remained relatively unchanged at 10 percent since 1993, according to a recently released InfoBrief from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Engineering Statistics. In the brief, authors John Finnamore and Beethika Khan use the most recent data from the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) to identify the distinguishing characteristics of the United States’ college-educated population.

Pew Report: Large Gap Exists Between Public, Scientists on 12 Key S&T Issues

The American public and scientists have dramatically different views on a range of science, engineering, and technology issues, according to a new report from the New Pew Research Center. The largest gap exists between the two groups on safety of genetically modified (GM) foods. While 57 percent of the public believe GM foods are generally unsafe, 88 percent of scientists connected with American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) believe that GM foods are generally safe. Other questions asked that show a significant fracture between the public and scientific community include: the role of human activity in climate change; human evolution; use of animals in research; nuclear energy; and, offshore drilling.

U.S. Millennials Rank Among Lowest-Skilled Tech Workers in the World

Despite having a higher rate of educational attainment than any previous generation, U.S. millennials (between 16-34 years of age) ranked lower than most of their international peers in literacy, mathematics and technology problem solving in a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Those born in the U.S. after 1980 tied for last among the 22 participating countries in numeracy and technology skills, and 16th in literacy. Top scoring Americans in this cohort ranked lower than their peers in most other countries, and bottom-scoring Americans ranked among the lowest in the whole study. Read America's Skills Challenge: Millennials and the Future...


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