%

of OST programs in NC implement informal STEM activities

%

of youth in OST programs developed a “STEM identity"

%

of women make up the science and engineering workforce

%

of Latinx, Black, and Indigenous women represent women in the STEM workforce

%

of future careers will require awareness and application of STEM

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 stakeholders 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 the STEM pathways. Each sector in attendance provides a unique perspective on investing in the future STEM workforce. 

STEM COALITION CONVENINGS 

The STEM Coalition Kickoff Panel took place on Friday, July 31st, 2020 during the virtual Synergy Conference. The panel had a range of individuals representing STEM businesses, OST programs, educators, and funders.

Panelists included:

During the panel, the panelists addressed the engagement of ALL youth in high-quality STEM, the importance of continuous investments in STEM, and the work necessary to bridge gaps within the STEM pipeline. 

To view the panel, click here

In  October 2020, NC CAP hosted the STEM Coalition Fall Convening. NC CAP invited individuals from all sectors including nonprofits, business, K-12 education, higher education, out-of-school time, and science centers and museums to participate in the convening. There were over 50 professionals across sectors present.

During the Fall convening, attendees engaged in a SWOT analysis that evaluated the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of STEM in North Carolina from their unique perspective. With cross-sector participation in the SWOT analysis, common themes were evident. The five themes included access, awareness, collaboration, equity, and funding.

To view the agenda, click here

To view the infographic, click here

In January 2021, the NC CAP hosted the STEM Coalition Winter convening to begin the process of designing solutions to the trends (access, awareness, collaboration, equity, and funding) seen across sectors. There were a total of 60STEM-invested individuals present for the convening. During this convening, attendees were placed into breakout rooms to deep dive into each trend (access, awareness, collaboration, equity, and funding). Each of the breakout sessions was prompted with a question and asked to use a solution-oriented approach when discussing the questions: 

Access:

How can we increase access to high-quality STEM? What does access to high-quality STEM look like for… youth, adults, the workforce, college students, etc.? During the Fall convening, it was noted that there was a stark difference in access to STEM in rural communities versus urban communities. How can we increase access to STEM for youth in rural communities across the state?  When we think about access, does the notion of “oversaturation” exist? If so, what implication could that present for youth? How can STEM content be delivered intentionally and purposefully to avoid oversaturation? Does oversaturation limit access? 

Awareness:

How can we ensure that youth, families, and programs are aware of high-quality STEM opportunities across the state? Think about how you learn about programs, resources, & funding opportunities. What communication channels need to be amplified? What communication channels are we missing? How can we leverage dissemination methods to increase awareness?  Does awareness lead to accessibility? If it does not, how can we bridge the gap between the two? 

Collaboration:

How can organizations and individuals leverage existing partnerships and develop new ones? How can organizations and individuals leverage existing partnerships and develop new ones? 

Equity:

What are some solutions to increasing equity within STEM? What are some ways to ensure equity within STEM? What does adequate representation look like in STEM? What is needed to increase equity in STEM? What systemic barriers exist that perpetuate inequities? 

Funding:

While there are funding opportunities that exist, what are changes that would be necessary to increase funding and limit competition for STEM funding? What are key determining factors for STEM proposals? [i.e. community collaboration, previous success, etc.] How does an entity with a new idea compete with an entity that has a track record of success? How does one engage funders beyond the funding period? How would an increase in funding alter your work?

To view the breakout room notes, click here

In July and August 2021, NC CAP invited over 150 STEM professionals and STEM Coalition members to participate in small focus groups on various dates and times to develop a strategic plan and identify resources and partners based on the Fall Convening’s SWOT Analysis trends.

NC CAP utilized the information obtained at these convenings to develop the “Addressing the Top 5 Issues within STEM Pathways in North Carolina” publication. This publication serves as a resource to support program providers and other vital stakeholders in their STEM advocacy efforts.

To view the publication, click here

If you have any questions about the STEM Coalition and the convenings, please reach out to Sheneika Simmons at ssimmons@ncforum.org.