Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are essential for navigating the modern world and competing in the 21st century job market. But there is concern about how students in the United States are doing in these subjects compared to other nations and what this means for successful participation in a globalized economy. We must ensure that our kids have the skills they need to successfully access available opportunities.
There are many efforts attempting to address this situation through school reform, but students spend less than 20% of their waking hours in a classroom. We need an "all hands on deck" approach to meet the challenge. Afterschool programs are part of the solution and must be essential partners in STEM education.
By offering hands-on, project-based learning that makes the STEM fields come alive for youth, before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs all over the country are:Inspiring and engaging kids in these fieldsBuilding necessary skills and proficiency Inspiring them to pursue majors and careers in STEM fields