Preparing Students for the Jobs of the Future
As the end of summer looms, so too does ‘back to school’ rush for students around the country. It’s an exciting time: new friends, teachers and interesting classes. A new school year is also a new start, and an opportunity for students to start thinking about the skills they will need to learn today to help them succeed in college and beyond. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is one of the fastest-growing areas of the economy, and remains a key priority for educations and employers a like.
Today, eighty percent of the nation’s fastest-growing careers require skills from one or more STEM fields, but only 35% of high school graduates are ready to take a college-level science course. Given this divide, it is critical to properly teach and engage students around STEM topics. In fact, our nation’s global competitiveness hinges on our ability to create a fully STEM-literate generation and empower students with the confidence they need to pursue STEM career opportunities that may have once seemed out-of-reach.
Now in its third year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Achieving Tomorrow STEM Scholars program uses online gaming and simulations to teach critical STEM skills. Delivered in partnership with education technology provider EVERFI, Achieving Tomorrow highlights the career possibilities a STEM education can unlock. Since the program’s launch in 2015, over 1,800 students have participated in the program in 20 schools across Houston, TX, Detroit, MI, Johnson City, TN, and most recently, in areas of West Virginia. In total, the Chamber Foundation has delivered more than 5,000 learning hours to Achieving Tomorrow student scholars.
Achieving Tomorrow covers STEM-focused topics ranging from the real world application of algebra to encryption and basic HTML. Additionally, the program educates students on the importance of digital citizenship by covering topics such as internet safety and cyberbullying, and teaching students how to evaluate and properly credit online content.
The impact of the program speaks for itself: after taking the digital program, students noted an increased interest in specific career areas, with the largest interest in graphic design, chemistry, and engineering.
The Chamber Foundation’s partnership provides these digital education resources to schools at no charge to the school or district, ensuring that students receive the engaging STEM education resources they deserve and make safe and responsible decisions online. The Chamber Foundation is proud to bring Achieving Tomorrow STEM Scholars to Middle and High Schools across the country to support the next generation of STEM leaders.