STEM Outreach and Partnerships
Connections to K-12 and the Business Community
The goal of STEM Education is to provide students with opportunities to connect to the real world including the businesses and industries within their community. Community partnerships can provide K-12 schools with resources and support to enhance the educational experience. This support can take the form of many possibilities from direct donations to guest speakers, science fair judges, field trips and shadowing/internship experiences. The Arizona STEM Network provides both schools and businesses a means to connect and share meaningful partnerships through our Business Advocacy Program. You can learn more here.
How can you form and develop strong partnerships within your community in order to improve student achievement and bolster interest in STEM Careers? Download the following pdf.s on "How to Guide for School and Business Partnerships" and "Guiding Principles for Business and School Partnerships".
Outreach and Partnerships Through STEM Club Development
Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) and the AZ STEM Network have a proven record for successful outreach and partnerships through the implementation of STEM clubs. SFAz has partnered with the Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Department of Education, Rio Salado College and Arizona State University to develop a STEM Club Network and Guide. See STEM Club Guide. This robust initiative has included developing an online STEM Club Guide webpage, coordinating two Annual Arizona STEM Club Conferences in July 2013 and June 2014 and providing seed funding for the creation/expansion of over 160 STEM Clubs across the state in 2014. For many schools the first step to connecting to business partnerships and outreach is through an after-school STEM club. The AZ STEM Network provides opportunities for schools to connect to Business Advocates through an easy on-line application process. It is with this commitment to STEM education, that SFAz presents a tried and true scalable model with opportunities to expand this venture across the nation.
Outreach and Partnerships through the STEM Pathways Program
STEM Career Pathways are community college-centered programs that function as conduits between high schools, universities and jobs. Community Colleges are well-positioned to lead and collaborate in a process that will prepare all students for successful employment. The purpose of STEM Career Pathways is to:
- Prepare students for jobs requiring academic preparation and credentialing.
- Break down silos between K-12 & higher education and between CTE & academic sectors.
- Deeply integrate industry-based partnerships.
STEM Pathways offer students multiple opportunities to explore, prepare for and pursue STEM degrees and careers, expanding the notion that the only pathway to success is through a four year university. Pathway programs are led and driven by community colleges which function as conduits between high schools, universities and jobs. These community college-led programs include:
● outreach to K-12 students,
● technology-driven academic curriculum that lead students to industry-recognized credentials,
● and early college options for high school students who earn transferable college credits toward these certifications and degrees.
All programs are integrated with industry which keep the programs current, offer students real world experiences through outreach programs and internships, and give hiring preferences to students with nationally-recognized credentials. The STEM Pathways program at SFAz is built upon the Engineering Pathway model developed at Cochise Community College with funding from Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and includes an online STEM Pathways Guide. This Guide is a strategic framework that provides adopters with an easy to use roadmap for researching, planning and implementing STEM Pathway programs. SFAz is collaborating with rural community colleges across Arizona to help them adopt components of the Pathway into their communities.