Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced a new online science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) resource center – a community, networking and information source for STEM professionals and organizations to learn more and participate in US2020 PHL, a high-impact STEM mentoring initiative focused on increasing youth access to careers in STEM fields. US2020 PHL is the City’s coalition-driven model, supported by title sponsor Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, to increase STEM mentoring and was one of seven winning innovative STEM mentorship models in the US2020 City Competition.
The US2020 PHL STEM online resource center (www.STEMcityPHL.org) will eventually house a STEM asset map that will provide a comprehensive overview of current STEM-related resources and a foundation for regional growth in high-demand STEM fields. Libraries, museums, universities, schools, nonprofits, and other organizations that offer STEM education programs will be able to connect to companies, individuals, and others STEM program supporters.
The resource center will also host US2020 PHL’s volunteer matching platform, which will link STEM professionals to local youth in mentoring relationships. Parents and teachers will have the ability to enroll their students in high-impact, out-of-school STEM mentoring opportunities, and educators will have access to professional development resources needed to bolster in-school instruction. The online space will be functional this fall.
“Since being selected as a US2020 City Competition winner, our coalition of partners has been hard at work bringing new leaders from the public, private, educational and philanthropic communities to the table and outlining our next steps,” said Mayor Nutter. “The online resource center will serve as a solid foundation for connecting underserved youth to mentorship opportunities with STEM professionals, organizations and companies. I want to thank Saint-Gobain and all of our coalition partners for their support in this process and their commitment to Philadelphia’s next generation.”
Mayor Nutter also announced that the City of Philadelphia was selected by IBM for a Strategic Planning Impact Grant to help develop a city-wide framework for STEM education and workforce development called STEMcityPHL, of which the STEM mentorship work of US2020 PHL will play a prominent role.
“STEM and innovation economy jobs are among the fastest growing sectors in Philadelphia. But unfortunately, many of our young people and adults lack the basic skills and knowledge required to work within these fields,” said Mayor Nutter. “By creating a city-wide, multi-faceted blueprint to coordinate resources and programs, we can identify gaps and increase STEM opportunities for Philadelphians of all ages. I would like to thank IBM for being a great partner to the City of Philadelphia and helping us open doors to STEM careers for citizens.”
John Crowe, President and CEO, Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations, said, “Educating the next generation of the American workforce is vital to our city’s economic success and it starts with exciting Philadelphia’s youth about STEM fields of study and expanding their experiences in a diverse array of STEM careers. Taking STEM out of the classroom and into the real world will offer youth a clear pathway to stable, rewarding, in-demand careers that can ultimately help rebuild Philadelphia’s middle class while also creating a new generation of highly skilled STEM professionals that will keep Philadelphia’s business community thriving.”
Diane Melley, Vice President, Global Citizenship Initiatives, IBM, added, “IBM offers a variety of resources for the education community so it can significantly increase our pipeline of STEM professionals in the U.S. to meet the needs of our workforce. IBM is pleased to support the City of Philadelphia with this IBM Strategic Planning Impact Grant to assist with the startup and launch of this important collaborative endeavor that will make our region even more competitive and successful.”
The announcement followed a keynote address by Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director for the Franklin Institute and panel discussion with Mayor Nutter and local STEM leaders, Darrell Williams, Vice President of Operations at Certain Teed Ceilings, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain; Dr. Helen Giles-Gee, President, University of the Sciences; and Chris Lehman, Principal of Science Leadership Academy. The panel highlighted the importance of STEM education and current STEM efforts in Philadelphia. The US2020 Kick-off was hosted by the GRASP Laboratory of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania.