Vermont Afterschool’s STEM Initiative aims to support, inspire, and increase high-quality STEM (the subjects called science, technology, engineering, and math) programs for Vermont’s afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs. Our philosophy is that youth need out-of-school time opportunities to help build a strong “STEM identity.” To do so, we are working with afterschool, summer learning, and expanded learning programs to adopt/adapt nationally recognized STEM practices, tools, and curriculum that reflect kids’ interests and diverse cultural influences.
The majority of future careers will require some STEM skills. Here in Vermont, we will see an 18% increase in STEM jobs in the next four years alone, with 87% of these jobs requiring postsecondary education & training. Research shows that early engagement and sustained opportunities throughout a child’s development will yield greater success in STEM fields. In sum, the STEM job sector is growing and building STEM skills now helps to benefit all in the future.
Afterschool, summer learning, and expanded learning programs are well-positioned to complement and supplement school-day learning with experiences outside of the classroom. These programs provide youth with the opportunity to explore STEM topics in a flexible, hands-on, inquiry-based environment. Kids can enjoy more freedom and time to dive deeper in STEM subjects that spark their interests.
The Afterschool Alliance’s 2015 report Full STEM Ahead: Afterschool Programs Step Up as Key Partners in STEM Education is a fantastic resource that highlights the positive impacts of afterschool STEM programs. You can also download the Executive Summary for a shorter read that gives you just the key findings, as well as an interactive dashboard where you can see national and state-level data and download state fact sheets. Don’t forget to download a STEM infographic to share, pin, tweet, or print!
Other resources to share:
The STEM Quality Initiative includes afterschool direct service providers, afterschool leadership, informal science educators, school administrators, classroom teachers and STEM professional development trainers. Our STEM partnership group includes representatives from:
We are grateful to the Vermont Agency of Education, Noyce Foundation, and C.S. Mott Foundation for supporting the STEM Initiative.