Chicago STEM Learning Ecosystem


Are we educating students to truly complete globally in the world of tomorrow’s technology?

  • Positions in STEM fields today are growing as a percentage of total employment
  • Skills built through STEM education are increasingly needed for success regardless of field
  • Real learning takes place 24/7, cradle to grave. Only small percentage occurs inside of school during the K-12 years.

Yet, we are still educating students using an industrial age infrastructure.

What if we could create a new infrastructure for STEM education that is built for the future?

The Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative will create a STEM learning ecosystem infrastructure which will ensure that:
• All Chicago students possess the requisite STEM skills to be competitive for 21st century jobs.
• All educators are provided the tools and support to ensure their students are STEM competent and STEM literate.
• Chicago is a leader in STEM workforce competitiveness in Illinois and in the United States

Our Mission
The Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative aims to increase youth and family access to quality STEM experiences in both formal and informal settings, from cradle to career.

Our Approach
This cross-sector collaborative of Chicago Public Schools, nonprofits, foundations, cultural and civic institutions, corporations, higher education institutions and parents will improve the coordination of STEM learning opportunities and identify gaps in STEM programming. With a shared vision and metric for enhanced program sustainability we will connect city wide opportunities to give students cradle to career access to quality STEM education.

We will work across sectors to:

  • Ensure all community stakeholders are represented and have voice
  • Coordinate efforts between formal and informal STEM learning environments
  • Recommend strategic funding opportunities to increase impact
  • Increase collaboration and communication between STEM formal and informal learning environments, higher education and industry to advance STEM workforce development
  • Coordinate and centralize openly-accessible data regarding STEM learning common vocabulary and shared metrics for STEM experiences
  • Identify a shared vision and evaluation strategy in place to gauge success of STEM education
  • Provide and appraise professional development for informal and formal educators
  • Participate in a community of practice among all advocates for STEM learning nationwide to support systemic improvements to program delivery, quality, measurement, and evaluation

Our Partners
Our infrastructure will benefit from collaboration and information exchange among similar initiatives in 27 cities nationwide, as well as from technical assistance from the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative, a national project of the STEM Funders Network.