Virtual learning can be frustrating, but it can also be hands-on, inspiring and fun. Nearly 100 Chicagoland students had the opportunity to experience this as a part of ComEd's Home STEM Lab program, known in years past as its Solar Spotlight program.
The need to provide STEM education to the next generation of science leaders can't stop, not even during a pandemic and ComEd's Melissa Washington, Terrika Worthon and program participant Caleb Bunton talk about how ComEd was able to make it happen and why this program is so important.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
-The students that participate in these programs come from communities that are underrepresented in the STEM workforce and, even before that, in educational paths that could lead to rewarding careers in STEM. Greater Chicagoland youth who may be perfectly suited to STEM careers often lack exposure to hands on opportunities to explore their interests in STEM, and many may not have access to STEM role models within their families or communities.
-African Americans make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall, but represent 9% of STEM workers.
-Women constitute almost 50% of the labor market, but only 28% of women are in STEM fields.
-Hispanics make up the youngest and fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. yet remain vastly underrepresented in STEM professions. (Over a 40-year span, the growth of Hispanics in STEM based jobs has only moved from 2 % to 7%).
COMED'S STEM LAB STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM:
-Fun curriculum developed with ComEd mentors and STEM influencer that allows them to build interest and confidence in STEM fields
-Exposure to inspiring leaders and mentors working in STEM
-Opportunities to branch out of their neighborhoods to meet new friends/like-minded peers
-Potentially starting down the pathway to fill valuable STEM jobs of the future