August 26, 2015 – Lockheed Martin and National 4-H Council announced today the launch of a new national program, STEM Futures, to inspire more American youth to discover and explore career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The three year, $3 million commitment will build a STEM pipeline of future scientists, engineers and community science professionals who will become the next generation of leaders at work and in their communities.
Nearly all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require STEM skills, including an estimated 2.8 million STEM jobs that will be created in just four years. But, only 16 percent of American high school seniors are interested in a STEM career, and the problem is worse for girls and minority youth, who are significantly under-represented in STEM degrees and careers.
With the support of Lockheed Martin, 4-H will have additional capacity to address the need head-on through its proven programs, community of dedicated adult mentors, and intentional career readiness model.
The STEM Futures program includes targeted outreach to engage girls and minority youth in exploring STEM careers using a new, research-based career readiness framework, the 4-H Career Pathway.
The 4-H Career Pathway is designed to translate abstract, textbook STEM concepts into more appealing, practical experiences that help young people explore and prepare for STEM in the real world. The four components of the Pathway — Explore, Learn, Practice, Experience — provide intentional and progressive STEM education and leadership skills for youth of all ages.
In the Explore stage, youth participate in introductory, short-term STEM experiences to spark curiosity and interest;
In the Learn stage, youth delve into projects that teach more advanced STEM concepts and problem solving skills;
During Practice, youth engage in more long-term projects with professional coaches to guide them in building STEM and leadership skills for college and their careers; and
During the Experience stage, youth immerse themselves in a field of work, including on-site training, shadowing and internship opportunities with STEM businesses.
“Partnerships committed to closing the STEM gap are critical to connecting in-school learning to out-of-school STEM experiences that open the door to career exploration,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “Working with Lockheed Martin on the STEM Futures program that features our new 4-H Career Pathway model will help engage more young people and create exciting opportunities for girls and minorities to pursue STEM majors and careers.”
As part of the STEM Futures program, Lockheed Martin employees, scientists and engineers from across the country will volunteer their time to mentor 4-H’ers.
“Lockheed Martin has partnered with 4-H for many years on STEM programs that educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” said Emily Simone, Lockheed Martin’s director of Community Relations. “This new STEM Futures partnership will provide even more opportunities to introduce students to exciting STEM careers and make positive impacts on the world.”
In 2010, Lockheed Martin partnered with National 4-H Council to develop a robust 4-H Robotics program that transformed 4-H Science and helped catapult a 4-H National Youth Science Day initiative. The program has produced 450 robotics clubs and counting — connecting 1.8 million youth across the nation to STEM.