STEM Career Accelerator Day is a national campaign and series of concurrent events hosted annually beginning in October that addresses the significant shortfall of qualified talent in the fields of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States and globally by connecting students to opportunities for career-focused experiential learning and access to STEM professionals. Through STEM Career Accelerator, more than 30,000 8th to 12th grade students engage in a variety of STEM events, with a goal to newly inspire an additional 1,500 students to persist in STEM fields. Teachers and students are invited to participate in a wide-range of career based problem solving activities including employer-hosted events (corporate sites, government and higher education institutions), regional STEM festivals and school sites.
While many companies around the world facilitate similar activities, STEM Career Accelerator is the first campaign to unite these disparate efforts under a common banner through a coordinated STEM2.0 strategy, communications platform and independent evaluation process.
STEM Career Accelerator is a program of the STEM Innovation Task Force, an employer-driven thought leadership group dedicated to developing innovative pathways to STEM careers. STEMconnector’s® Innovation Task Force (SITF) is comprised of more than thirty influential leaders from industry, government, education and nonprofit sectors working on collaborative approaches to address the STEM talent pipeline.
The overarching event vision is to instill in the minds of young and upcoming talent the possibilities unleashed by education and innovation in the fields of STEM by providing them, their teachers and parents with deep exposure to, and a sustainable experience with, companies and organizations that provide career paths in these specialized fields.
During the 2014 pilot, STEM Career Accelerator reached 4,300 students across three unique delivery platforms. The Employment Site platform (hosted by PepsiCo) provided students and other key stakeholders a chance to physically visit a company’s STEM facility. A Festival Platform (hosted by Arizona State University, Honeywell Aerospace, and Tata Consultancy Services) allowed participants to gather in an open, university environment where local companies could engage with students without the safety and security constraints that are often associated with large STEM facilities. The Virtual Platform (hosted by Spark 101 & Teach For America) gave classrooms across the United States access to free career case study videos to actively engage students in career-based STEM problem solving. Program evaluations indicated modest but statistically significant increases in students newly aware of how STEM coursework relates to their lives, newly curious to learn more about STEM coursework and careers and newly committed to enrolling in STEM coursework.
The Design team has prioritized for the growth of the Employment Site and Festival platforms, which produced the largest outcome margins during the 2014 STEM Career Accelerator pilot. The three-year goal will be to reach 30,000 unique students, 1,500 teachers, 1,200 employee volunteers, and 300 parents.
2016 participating companies include Apollo Education, Campbell Soup Company, Dassault Systemes Deloitte, DMACC, Dyson, Hawkeye Community College, General Motors, Inspired Classroom, Learning Blade, Lockheed Martin, Missoula College, North State STEM, Olin College, PepsiCo, SkillsUSA, Tata Consultancy Services, Teach For America, University of Memphis, Reebok and University of Phoenix.
STEM Career Accelerator is held across more than 15 states including Arizona, California, Connecticut Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Memphis, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Wisconsin and abroad in Mexico.
Benefits of Partnering with STEM Career Accelerator 2016
1. INSPIRE The Next Generation of STEM Talent – Major STEM organizations welcome students (along with their parents and teachers) into facilities to expose and excite them to pursue STEM careers in their future.
2. ENGAGE Your Employees – Excellent activity to engage employees and volunteer where they can share STEM stories and converse with students, parents and teachers.
3. CONNECT with Your Community – Opportunity to continue building important relationships in the local community where you operate.
4. SHARE Your Story – Provides companies and other organizations with an occasion to share their journey and brand with a global audience.
5. BECOME Part of a National Movement – Allows organizations to become part of a global movement striving to INSPIRE the next-generation of STEM talent.