We have a problem in the US...
Which is also an opportunity. We do not have enough workers with the right skills to fill many STEM orientated jobs and the need just keeps growing. Our young people need to be prepared to become the innovators with the know-how to solve the most pressing challenges facing our world. But, right now, not enough students have access to enough quality STEM learning opportunities.
At Homewood Science Center, we believe all of our youth can be prepared to live rewarding lives, reach their full potential and make the world a better place. We can fix this problem when schools, libraries, park districts, parents, youth groups, governments and industry work together. This belief is what brought the South Suburban STEM Network to fruition.
This is not an original idea. The STEM Funders Network launched the STEM Ecosystems Initiative in 2015. The Initiative was built on over a decade of research into successful STEM collaborations, and sought to nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities for all young people. Other locally recognized networks are Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative and EvanSTEM.
We are gathering 125+ STEM educators and enthusiasts on August 30th for a chance to show off our free family learning program, PopUP SCIENCE, hear from our advisor, Barry Aprison, Ph.D., University of Chicago, and learn how we can further support members of the South Suburban STEM Network.
Homewood Science Center is currently expanding the STEM Network Directory with the goal of increasing visibility and participation in local STEM programs. From November 1st 2016 through Jan 31st, 2017, we will be accepting applications for a $1000 STEM Innovation Award, created to reward advances in recruitment, design or program evaluation.
Starting in the the fall, in partnership with the University of Illinois Extension, we will offer Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) professional development for educators at Homewood Science Center.
But, most important, Homewood Science Center and the South Suburban STEM Network are providing a platform for relationships and partnerships to form.