We hear all the time about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. We know Chicago is a STEM-rich city with universities, museums, diverse community organizations and businesses.  But we don’t know very much about what kinds of STEM opportunities are available in Chicago in out of school time: Who provides the programs? Where are they being run? What kinds of eligibility or participation requirements do students encounter?

Thanks to support from the Noyce Foundation, a team of program providers, policy-makers and educators came together in January 2012 to take a stab at understanding what’s going on and to think about the story the data tells about STEM opportunities in Chicago.

We’re particularly interested in thinking about the following question: How might STEM education providers cooperate to make it easier (and maybe even more fun!) for youth to get – and stay – involved with STEM, particularly young people of color and girls?

We are hard at work surveying and analyzing the STEM opportunity landscape. We’re going to use the data we collect to inform the development of a blueprint for a city-wide effort to make pathways into and through science, engineering, mathematics and technology transparent and accessible for Chicago’s youth grades K-16. We’ll also share the data and the report with as many stakeholders as we can – including you.

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This project is being supported by the Noyce Foundation and the Chicago Foundation for Women.