Siemens Foundation Expands STEM Middle-Skill Initiative

The Siemens Foundation has partnered with the Center to Advance CTE and the Center on Education and Skills at New America to help young adults develop skills for STEM-related jobs.

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The Siemens Foundation announces the expansion of its STEM Middle-Skill Initiative with the addition of two new partners who will continue to advance the development of essential skills needed for young adults in thriving middle-skill jobs requiring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM):

The Center to Advance CTE will support states and communities in their efforts to attract and recruit students into high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Advance CTE will identify effective messaging to be used at the state and local level that resonates with students and parents, as well as provide support to states as they identify, implement and evaluate strategies for student recruitment into high-quality programs that lead to college and career success. The four participating states will be announced in early 2017.

“Career Technical Education (CTE) is gaining visibility as a proven strategy and program that is successful at preparing students for a lifetime of career success,” explains Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “Unfortunately, outdated stereotypes held by many prevent more students from benefiting from these programs. This project will help to increase awareness and visibility of what modern, high-quality CTE is and the possibilities and options it offers students.”

The Center on Education and Skills at New America will develop evidence-based research on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to apprenticeships for high school students in the U.S. Many countries with low youth unemployment rates, like Germany and Switzerland, effectively use this model with secondary students, and New America will identify best practices abroad that can be adapted in the U.S. to build a stronger connection between high school and STEM middle-skill careers through apprenticeships. The research will be completed next year and used to guide philanthropic investments to scale youth apprenticeships.

“The reasons behind the lack of focus on youth apprenticeships in the U.S. are not well known – but likely to be complex,” said Mary Alice McCarthy, Director, Center on Education and Skills. “Understanding the barriers –both real and perceived – to growing youth apprenticeship in the U.S. is an essential first step for building an evidence-based strategy that can effectively overcome those barriers.”
“We couldn’t have asked for better partners to help us push our work forward,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “As we work to lead on STEM technical careers, we see a real need to build these important connections in the high school years so students understand all of their postsecondary education and career options. These new partnerships help us do that.”

Middle-skill jobs typically require strong technical skills and a two-year degree, occupational license, or certification. Such jobs, particularly in high-demand STEM fields, often pay salaries upwards of $50,000 after two years or less of higher education and students carry relatively little, if any, debt load compared to students in four year degree programs . The Foundation’s work focuses on young adults in the U.S.

“We are excited to continue the momentum of the Foundation’s new STEM Middle-Skill Initiative with these new partners joining our roster,” said Eric Spiegel, chairman of the Siemens Foundation and President and CEO of Siemens USA. “Building a workforce trained and ready for tomorrow’s technology is critical to our country’s economic growth and will grow the middle-class.”

The Siemens Foundation announced its new focus on STEM middle-skills last October, starting with two initial partnerships: The Siemens Technical Scholars program and the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence with the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and two work-based learning projects, including work with the U.S. Labor Department’s American Apprenticeship Grantees and six states committed to scaling work-based learning with the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices.

The  Siemens Foundation  has invested more than $90 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math. The Foundation’s mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are closing the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. when it comes to STEM careers, and igniting and sustaining today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. Follow the Siemens Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.

The Center to Advance CTE is the 501(c)3 affiliate organization of Advance CTE, the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. The Center to Advance CTE and Advance CTE share a vision of supporting an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers and poises the United States to flourish in a global, dynamic economy through leadership, advocacy and partnerships. The Center to Advance CTE’s mission is to foster the supports, resources and partnerships necessary to ensure high-quality CTE is advanced throughout the country, leading to a highly skilled workforce and productive economy.

New America is a nonpartisan think tank committed to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. The Center on Education and Skills at New America (CESNA) is dedicated to expanding the array of high quality educational options for students of all ages, including through greater access to apprenticeship. Housed within our broader Education Program, the Center reaches across the traditional silos of higher education and workforce development to identify strategies for improving the quality of technical education and strengthening linkages between learning and work, and schools and local economies.