Advancing STEM Education
OCF Supports Career and Technical Education as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education
In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex and technology-driven, it’s important for Oregon youth to be equipped with knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. Skills learned by studying science, technology, engineering and math—subjects collectively known as STEM—develop critical thinking skills and prepare students for careers that will play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of our economy.
OCF employs various strategies to advance career and technical education (CTE) and STEM education for girls, low-income youth, youth of color and rural youth around the state in alignment with the priorities of Oregon’s STEM Education Plan. Currently, we are focusing on career-connected learning and a regional engagement strategy:
- Career-Connected Learning (CCL) helps students explore career pathways and possibilities, develop work-related knowledge and skills (problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, entrepreneurship) and connect their classroom learning to the world of work. It enables educators to gain and maintain current knowledge of CTE-STEM workplaces related to their discipline and link their curricula to real-world applications, enhancing student engagement and connecting student learning to future career options. When intentionally designed with an equity focus, CCL is one critical element of creating a pathway for girls, low-income youth, youth of color and rural youth to aspire to and enter the CTE-STEM fields.
- Regional Engagement Strategy: OCF supports community-based approaches that 1) increase investment and engagement in STEM Hubs (regional collaborations of public and private organizations transforming STEM education for K-12 students) from community leaders, private sector partners, civic champions; 2) increase alignment within a region, across sectors and existing initiatives; and 3) develop focus and shared commitment and move partners toward concrete action.
Due to the requirements of OCF's Oracle STEM Fund, which provides the bulk of funding for OCF's investment in this area, most of OCF's current funding in CTE-STEM focuses on STEM Hubs. This area of our work is still under development.