The importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for the next generation is becoming an increasingly urgent topic. Consider these facts from the National Math + Science Initiative:
- U.S. students recently finished 27th in math and 20th in science in the ranking of 34 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
- STEM jobs are expected to grow 70% faster than overall employment during the next several years.
- There are approximately 2.5 entry-level job postings for each new bachelor's degree recipient in a STEM field, compared with 1.1 job postings for each new four-year graduate in a non-STEM field.
There is a lot we can do to inspire interest in STEM learning, beginning as early as pre-kindergarten. Coming up with strategies to improve performance and student engagement in STEM at a young age is something we continue to hear about from teachers looking to integrate technology in their classrooms.
That’s why I am excited about the Teachers and Technology grant program. These grants, funded by the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation, are designed to help teachers reach students in innovative ways and grow their understanding of STEM concepts by putting technology into their classrooms. Every year, CenturyLink awards approximately $1.4 million to place technology in the hands of preK-12 students, exposing them to the tools and skills they will need in STEM fields.
Here’s a snapshot of our 2015-2016 Teachers and Technology grant program:
- We invited full-time classroom teachers in preK-12 public, private and charter schools in our residential service areas to submit grant proposals.
- Teachers requested technology to support lessons that introduce students to robotics and computer programming, improve performance in math and science and much, much more.
- From iPads, Chromebooks and whiteboards to complex calculators, science probes and video production/editing equipment, we received almost 1,200 requests from teachers for technology and equipment.
- This year, CenturyLink is awarding 314 grants of up to $5,000 to purchase technology and equipment for STEM-related lessons in preK-12 classrooms.
- Over the next month, our employees are planning surprise check presentations for the grant winners in their respective communities.
At CenturyLink, we are committed to strengthening the communities we serve. I am proud of the work the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation is doing to help support our students and drive interest in STEM education. I look forward to hearing from this year’s Teachers and Technology grant winners, as well as past recipients, about how these grants are making a difference in their classrooms.