Out-of-school-time STEM programs provide an important point of exposure for many St. Louis students to STEM concepts and project-based STEM learning. In early 2018, STEMSTL convened 150 community members to name and prioritize strategic to name and prioritize strategic activities needed to better strengthen the city’s STEM learning ecosystem. Some Some of the strategic priorities identified were building a shared definition of out-of-school time STEM programming and developing a commitment to learning, growing, and strengthening as antiracist, high-quality programs to best serve students.
In 2020, we launched our inaugural cohort—inclusive of 11 organizations—engaging 21 leaders in a 10-month community of practice to fulfill some objectives recommended by regional plans. To learn more about this experience and impact, click here to access our Cohort 1 Impact Report. Learning and seeing the impact of our community of practice, we launched our second cohort with seven organizations gearing up to launch their summer experiences for youth after two years of pivoted programming due to COVID-19. Our second cohort completed their curricular engagement in August 2022.
In this third cohort, we will seek 10 STEM-rich institutions that offer work-based learning experiences, their umbrella organizations, and employed youth to participate in a 10-month community of practice that is influenced by and in support of the Ferguson Report’s Calls to Action and Greater St. Louis Inc.’s 2030 Job’s Plan. These umbrella organizations and employer partners* are committed to learning and progressing as anti-racist, high-quality employer organizations for youth. Participating employed youth are committed to engaging, learning, and development as they begin their careers and offer insights to employer partners and umbrella organizations to holistically strengthen the workforce ecosystem. Furthermore, participants have the agency to offer learnings and recommendations within their organizations—ensuring practicality and applicability of learnings and impact from the community of practice.