Employers in every sector have emphasized the need for a well-rounded, highly skilled workforce. Recent survey data indicates that over 90% of business leaders think American workers are not as skilled as they need to be. According to the Business Roundtable, CEOs around the country have noticed a particular gap in “employability skills” such as effective communication, critical thinking,teamwork, and problem-solving.
At an after-school STEM club in Rhode Island, students are working on an engineering challenge -- because they want to be. The low-stakes, fun environment offers time for exploration when resources or hands-on activities may be in short supply during school hours, and can help sustain interest as classes get harder. Special correspondent Lisa Stark of Education Week reports.
To spark students’ interest in science and technology, some school districts have turned to afterschool programs focused on STEM. Now, some suggest the success of these programs could be instructive when making changes to in-school STEM programs.
Big manufacturing companies in Alabama are looking for skilled workers for jobs they say they can’t fill. After-school programs can provide the connection, he said, because they engage kids in a different way than school does. In schools, kids are doing reading, writing and arithmetic, Morin said. “They don’t see the real-world relevance [of what they’re studying],” he said.
Using extracurricular activities and after-school programs to pique students' interests in science, technology, engineering and math careers is a common trend. An initiative, "Ignite My Future in Schools," takes a different approach by encouraging teachers to incorporate STEM activities into their day-to-day classroom syllabi and make classes more interactive for students.
Afterschool programs have emerged as a dynamic and vibrant setting for innovative STEM education and there has been rapid growth in this field over the past few years. Although many of the statewide afterschool networks are collecting data from afterschool providers in their states on afterschool STEM programming, this report offers the first national look at availability and access to afterschool STEM programs and parental attitudes and expectations for such programs.
When the south Baltimore recreation center closed its doors two years ago, Andrew Coy opened a whole one with an after-school program for kids to learn.