In 2020, NC CAP launched the STEM Hub to provide ongoing support to out-of-school-time providers in their administration of STEM content, provide a mapping database of STEM assets throughout the state, enable individuals and organizations to showcase their STEM content via free webinars, disseminate relevant STEM content via lessons and video walkthroughs, and convene cross-sector professionals to develop strategies to close gaps within STEM pathways.
One of the initiatives within the STEM Hub is the STEM Coalition. The STEM coalition, or STEMco, is the collaborative efforts of professionals throughout North Carolina to amplify diversity, inclusion, and equity within STEM pathways. The STEMco develops strategies to ensure that more youth, particularly girls and minorities, are involved in STEM as early as Kindergarten. To do this, NC CAP has invited professionals from various sectors (i.e., business, higher education, K-12 education, OST programs, science centers and museums, libraries, and the community) to discuss the barriers and discontinuity among STEM pathways. Each sector in attendance provides a unique perspective on engaging youth in STEM and investing in the future workforce.
The STEM Coalition has identified and analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in STEM across varying sectors. The analysis identified common themes across sectors: access, awareness, collaboration, equity, and funding. Based on the themes, NC CAP engaged the STEMco in a series of focus groups to define the themes, establish short and long-term strategies, and identify potential resources and partners. The STEMCo will continue to serve as a collaborative effort among cross-sector professionals to discover solutions and strategies related to STEM pathways.