By on September 30th, 2015 | Comments (0)

Are corporations and associations doing enough to help build an inclusive workforce? Join us October 23 to hear a panel of STEM experts discuss ways companies and professional organizations can step up their efforts to address this issue. Come ready to share your ideas with our panel and your peers. We’ll ensure attendees leave with actionable best practices for preparing students for the 21st century workforce.

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Businesses and trade associations can help foster a more diverse workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through outreach programs with schools, according to a recent month-long STEM survey from SmartBrief on EdTech. Sixty-seven percent of readers polled said they would like to see more career events, mentoring, internships and job training programs on STEM opportunities open for females, minorities and students with disabilities

SmartBrief on EdTech’s STEM survey, which presented a different poll question to readers each Wednesday in September, found that 34% of respondents reported that STEM skills are a primary focus for their school or district. Forty-three percent indicated that STEM skills are somewhat important for their school or district.

When it comes to cultivating interest in STEM among girls and minorities, 51% of respondents stated that their schools/districts have programs in place designed for this purpose. Yet, social and cultural protocols prevent many of these students from pursuing STEM opportunities, according to 41% of respondents.

Here are the full results of the survey:

How much importance is placed on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — skills in your school or district?

  • STEM skills are a primary focus in my school or district: 34%
  • STEM skills are somewhat important in my school or district: 43%
  • STEM skills are not a focus in my school or district: 23%

Does your school/district have efforts in place aimed at generating more STEM interest among girls and minorities?

  • Yes: 51%
  • No: 49%

How can businesses and trade associations in the STEM fields help foster diverse, inclusive workforces? What kinds of outreach would you like to see would you like to see for girls, students with disabilities and students from minority backgrounds?

  • Events that shed light on careers students may not know exist: 6%
  • Mentoring opportunities: 8%
  • Partnerships that include internships and job training programs: 19%
  • We need it all!: 67%

What factors do you think contribute to STEM gaps among girls, minorities and students with special needs?

  • Low student interest: 10%
  • Lack of knowledge about the broad range of careers included in these fields: 10%
  • Lack of exposure to role models: 15%
  • Not enough programs targeting these students: 14%
  • Social and cultural barriers that discourage students from pursuing these fields: 41%
  • Curriculum geared toward the general student population: 10%

According to projections from the US Department of Commerce, by 2018, more than 1.2 million STEM jobs will go unfilled for lack of skilled workers.