STEM Beats - Vital Signs

Redesigned Vital Signs: a Powerful Tool for Making Change

September 10, 2015

Since 2012, CTEq’s Vital Signs tool has been the go-to place for information and data on the state of STEM education where you live and work. But we’ve taken things up a notch. Today, we mark the launch of a much more powerful and user-friendly Vital Signs with rich new data, a beautiful new look, and—most important—a new focus on solutions to the many challenges in STEM education that the data highlights.

Vital Signs still features thousands of easy-to-read charts with critical information on STEM education nationwide, in all fifty states, and in the District of Columbia -- and they are now easier to use and share than ever! If you want to raise awareness about major challenges in your state, for example, you can share any Vital Signs chart via social media or download it for presentations or briefings.

What's more, Vital Signs is an even more essential tool for empowering change in your own back yard. You can connect the data with the STEM education initiatives from our prestigious STEMworks honor roll of effective programs that are best suited to address those challenges.

Much of the data you’ll find on Vital Signs aren’t available from any other public source. To name just a handful of examples:

  • how is demand for STEM skills changing in your state?
  • are women and students of color earning more STEM degrees?
  • how much time are elementary schools devoting to science?  
  • do students have access to advanced classes and qualified teachers?

To learn more about how to use the new site, check out the video below. Have any questions or comments about the site? Let us know!

Tags: Vital Signs, STEMworks

STEMtistics on Display: Solving the Diversity Dilemma

March 6, 2015

We’re back with an eye-opening batch of STEMtistics! This latest set come from our most recent Vital Signs brief, Solving thEM data that are easy to use and share, be sure to dive into our full set of STEMtistics.


e Diversity Dilemma. We examined the data in the brief at our recent STEM Salon, with panelists from CTEq members Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton. 

You can make use of these images to illustrate the diversity dilemma and check out the brief for ideas on how to solve it. And for more great facts on all sorts of ST

Tags: STEMtistics, Vital Signs, jobs & workforce, minorities, women & girls, STEM Salon

Inspiring the Next Generation of STEMthusiasts

March 4, 2015

Last week we saw this article proposing an awards show that spotlights scientists in a way that’s as big as the Oscars. The author argues for a science awards show grand in stature, which would present awards to the top five to 10 breakthroughs in science. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? We thought so too.  But the reality is that it’s unlikely an award show will be enough to inspire young people about STEM. In fact, the Academy Awards ratings indicate difficulty attracting young viewers to even the Oscars. This article in Variety noted that, “If most [young] people haven’t heard of the nominees, they aren’t going to watch, and the business will lose more young viewers to indifference, because TV and video games are engaging them in a way that movies aren’t.” 

So what’s the solution? We’ve got to focus our efforts on building a strong foundation by fostering interest in STEM at a young age. Young people should be exposed to STEM earlier and in a variety of ways, from proven STEMworks and other high-quality programs to other more grassroots kinds of opportunities. Effectively collaborating with community organizations to help gain interest in STEM has been a major shortcoming. At our February STEM Salon announcing our recent Vital Signs brief, Sandra Evers Manly, vice president for Global Corporate Responsibility at CTEq member company Northrop Grumman Corporation, emphasized the importance of not overlooking grassroots programs, “Often times because it may not be pretty and packaged well, we tend to turn away and say this is not a successful program. But I can follow students through Northrop Grumman who started in SEEK, who then became a part of the NSBE chapters on college campuses, and who are now part of our company.”

Every day, CTEq members invest in strategies that will build the workforce of tomorrow in the communities where its employees live and work:

  • Dow recently announced a new partnership with Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a STEMworks program, to fund it in 17 schools and reach 14,000 more students as a result;
  • Microsoft has partnered with the Global Girls Collaborative Project and Iron Way Films to produce the Big Dream, a film that follows seven diverse young women as they face obstacles to challenge the STEM status quo; and
  • Cognizant announced that it is awarding 34 grants to afterschool, in-school, and summer programs at 54 sites across the U.S. through its ‘Making the Future’ education initiative.

Maybe an Academy Awards for STEM isn’t the solution, but shining a spotlight on the good commitments of Corporate America and promoting strong STEM programs will go a long way to inspiring young people. As CTEq continues to march toward our goal of reaching 1.5 million more young people with high-quality STEM experiences in 2015, we have to be both dynamic and realistic in our approach. For more on inspiring young people in STEM, check out the video from our STEM Salon, below.

Tags: STEM Salon, Vital Signs, video

Tapping Into Hidden Talent

February 24, 2015

Change the Equation is excited to release ‘Solving the Diversity Dilemma’ our new Vital Signs brief. With generous support from CTEq member company Northrop Grumman, the brief proposes solutions to the critical and worsening lack of diversity in the STEM workforce.

The new brief presents exclusive information on just how bad the problem has become. We mined recent workforce data on engineering, advanced manufacturing, and computing to find that the nation’s STEM diversity dilemma has remained stagnant or even worsened since 2001. African Americans and Latinos have surged as a percentage of the U.S. population, but their share of critical STEM jobs has barely budged. Women also remain scarce in STEM jobs.

The nation’s female and minority youth are a rich vein of talent we have not fully tapped. Many girls and students-of-color start strong in school but lack the opportunities and encouragement to stay on a pathway to STEM careers. We’ve highlighted key solutions business leaders are adopting to expand the nation’s best STEM learning opportunities to many more young women and people of color. Learn more about the business community’s response to the STEM diversity dilemma in our brief.

Tags: Vital Signs, jobs & workforce, minorities, women & girls

CTEq Celebrates Four STEMtastic Years!

September 16, 2014

Today is the fourth anniversary of Change the Equation’s launch and we’ve got a lot to celebrate.

Since 2010, CTEq member companies have been working alongside us to improve STEM literacy across the country.  Here are a few of our exciting milestones:

  • Business leaders across a variety of industries answered President Obama’s call-to-action to create opportunities in STEM for students and challenge the status quo of U.S. math and science standards.  Read more about our history and our coalition.
  • This year, 26 CTEq member companies doubled-down on their support for STEM by pledging their Commitment to Excellence. The charter signatories to the Commitment have vowed to: mobilize in new, more effective ways to advance STEM literacy, advocate for higher achievement standards, utilize STEM data to inform policy and philanthropy decision-making, and support exemplary STEM programs that yield results.  Read more about the Commitment to Excellence and its charter signatories.
  • Understanding the importance of ROI, CTEq members collaborated to create the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy, a guide to determining the best investments in STEM programming.  After an independent evaluation process, the first class of outstanding STEMworks programs was introduced, and the list keeps growing.  Get familiar with our STEMworks database.
  • In order to better serve schools and students in their communities, as well as at-large, CTEq members developed Vital Signs, the source for the most comprehensive state-by-state assessment of STEM topics, including: supply of and demand for STEM skills, standards for student achievement, and access for minority and low-income students to opportunities in STEM.  Read about how your state’s Vital Signs stack up.

It’s been a busy four years for Change the Equation and our members!  And while we’re excited to share CTEq’s accomplishments, we’re not done yet.  We still have a long way to go until every young person in the U.S. has a strong foundation in STEM, but we know that our coalition of corporate leadership is equal to the task. We can’t wait for all that’s to come!

Leave a comment or send a tweet and tell us your favorite CTEq accomplishment so far – and what you want to see us do next!

Tags: Commitment to Excellence, Vital Signs, STEMworks