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New STEM Ready America Resources Released

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under STEM

Earlier this month, new resources and research were released highlighting how afterschool programs can provide gains in critical workforce skills and interest in STEM careers. The key findings emerge from the Afterschool & STEM System Building Evaluation 2016, an ambitious study supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and STEM Next.

The study looked at the impact of more than 160 afterschool programs, surveying nearly 1,600 youth in grades 4 through 12 across 11 states. Findings are included in STEM Ready America: Inspiring and Preparing Students for Success with Afterschool and Summer Learning, a compendium of articles from 40 leading experts featured on a new website www.stemreadyamerica.org. The site provides success stories, research, and articles on STEM learning from policymakers, educators, and business, foundation, and youth development leaders.  Some highlights from the research study include:

Increasing Interest in STEM

78% of students across all states experienced a positive change in their self-reported attitudes towards STEM interest following participation in their afterschool program.

Building a STEM Identity

73% of all students reported their STEM identity positively increased following afterschool program participation.

Sparking Interest in STEM Careers

80% of the students across 11 states reported a positive gain in their STEM career knowledge following program participation.

Building 21st Century Skills

72% of students across all states reported their perseverance and critical thinking skills positively increased following afterschool program participation.

This national news comes on the heels of state level polling conducted by Washington STEM which revealed that here in Washington, voters overwhelmingly support high-quality STEM education for all students. And this includes expanded learning programs offered afterschool and in the summer with ninety-two percent of respondents indicating support for such programs as a solution to address the STEM skills gap in Washington.

At SOWA, we are working to increase access to high-quality STEM focused expanded learning opportunities by building partnership across diverse sectors and providing professional development and training for providers across the state supporting young people during the out of school hours. Check-out our STEM webpage for more information about our work in Washington State.

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