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Workforce Development

STEMPower – STEM Advisory Council

By: Lisa Derby Oden, STEM Project Director

STEM Initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

STEMPower, the Mid-Massachusetts STEM Pathways Initiative, works collaboratively with a broad cross-section of businesses, community-based organizations and education and training partners to reach its goal of increasing the pipeline of displaced workers, veterans, and disadvantaged youth into STEM careers. Over the past few months, Project Director Lisa Derby Oden has participated on the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council as part of the Diversity Subcommittee. Our mission was to identify strategic themes that focus on closing the gap for underrepresented groups, particularly women and minorities. It is the intention of our group that these themes will be included in the Council’s five-year plan for improving STEM education across Massachusetts. We then prepared recommendations related to these four strategic area. The following information is taken directly from the report that the Diversity Subcommittee submitted to the Council. Updates will provided in the future as the Council considers all recommendations submitted by all subcommittees and formulates its plan for moving forward.

o Foster new public-private partnerships between K-12, institutions of higher education,
non-profit organizations and industries.
o Expand upon existing successful partnerships that promote coordination and collaboration among STEM programs that serve girls and underrepresented minority youth, higher education institutions and industry, to create programs whose design is based on evidence of success.
o Engage partners to advocate for public policies and federal resources that support the education and career preparation of students from underrepresented groups.
o Utilize the Regional STEM Pipeline Networks to identify programs that work in their regions and bring those efforts to scale in some meaningful way, with particular focus on enhancing and supporting opportunities for girls and underrepresented youth.
o Base funding and support on the principle of equity, and make investments to create materials and programs that are multilingual, culturally sensitive and accessible to people with disabilities.

o Increase relevant internship opportunities for students in an array of STEM fields and encourage greater participation in teacher externship programs.
o Encourage and incentivize partnerships among industry and institutions of higher education with public schools to promote STEM careers and STEM majors to all students regardless of background.
o Engage employees in the STEM fields to serve as role models and mentors to underrepresented minorities and women.
o Increase outreach and provide culturally relevant materials to guidance counselors, teachers and parents that highlight STEM careers and college majors.

o Build the network of after-school programs and enrichment opportunities available to underrepresented minority youth that have a demonstrated track record of success with these student populations.
o Eliminate barriers to scaling of those ventures by providing funding through public-private partnerships. Programs should be offered free of charge or participation fees should be determined through an ability to pay sliding scale.
o Recognize interventions and program models that work by honoring these programs at the state level.

o Create a statewide strategy that incorporates best practice principles for mentorship, such as cultural relevance, consistency of message and intensity of engagement. The outreach should be done in partnership with community organizations committed to the success of our youth, such as the existing programs outlined in this report. Mentorship programs that do not have a cultural relevancy component will have limited impact, particularly within underrepresented minority communities.

To learn how to become involved in the program as an employer, mentor, advisory council member, or on, contact STEM Project Director, Lisa Derby Oden, at 508-751-7575 or [email protected]. Mid-Massachusetts STEM Pathways Initiative is sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The program is an equal opportunity program.

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