Major corporations like Microsoft, Intel, Moody’s Corporation, Time Warner, and i. am. FIRST have all at some point sat around their conference rooms and brainstormed an answer to the puzzling question, ‘how can we support STEM education and the pursuit of STEM careers?’
We could take a step back and ask, why would they be trying to answer such a question? Why support STEM education? The fact of reality is that STEM is in the future of our nation. According to the National Science Foundation, it is estimated that 80% of jobs in the next decade will require technology, math, and science skills. Projections by the U.S. Department of Labor tell us that by 2018 America will need to fill over 1.2 million positions in STEM careers. However, there will not be enough college graduates with the necessary STEM educational background or skills to fill these job openings. As a result, companies and corporations will be unable to find the workers they need.
These corporations have found a unique way to spark interest in STEM careers: through fairs, contests, and competitions. Here are the five STEM competitions by these corporations:
- Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow
- Moody’s Mega Math Challenge
- Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
- Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds and i. am. FIRST “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” contest
- Microsoft’s Imagine Cup
Through STEM competitions these corporations are:
- Raising awareness of and interest in STEM fields
- Providing tools, resources, grants, scholarships, so students can pursue their creative ideas and STEM career dreams
- Demonstrating the application of science, technology, engineering, and math to the real world and how STEM education can help solve problems of today and the future
- Inspiring and encouraging students to create global change and helping them recognize the potential impacts they can make
- Promoting innovation by challenging students to utilize their creative minds in finding solutions to today’s most difficult real world problems
What I admire about these corporations is that they are doing more than just donating money, but are supporting education by getting involved. They are getting to the root of the cause and building up, are striving for change, and are striving for sustainability. Isn’t this what supporting education should be about?
Cover Image: Nils Geylen via Flickr