“Based on current data trends, the number of college and career ready graduates in STEM fields will not meet demand created for STEM jobs in the nation’s workforce. Our goal is to inspire students toward excellence in STEM, and give them the skills to pursue post-secondary degrees or trade and technical certification – and ultimately careers – in mining and other STEM-related industries.” 

- Richard Adkerson, CEO

Why is your company signing the Commitment to Excellence?

Freeport-McMoRan believes supporting collective efforts such as the Commitment to Excellence are crucial to creating the awareness, momentum and action that is critical to building a stronger education system, particularly in STEM.  We believe we must stand together with other businesses that have a workforce imperative to fill the pipeline as well as the desire to generate economic stability and growth.

We also believe that the Commitment to Excellence is about raising the bar and requiring higher student performance that will ultimately ensure the competitiveness the U.S. and its students need to thrive today and into the future.

The four beliefs clearly articulate a path forward that commissions all partners to work together to assure that all children in communities across the U.S. have access to high-quality, excellent STEM learning opportunities. 

What are your company’s specific PreK-12 STEM interests (e.g. computer programming, robotics, engineering, etc.)?

Freeport-McMoRan places an emphasis on STEM programs and initiatives that help students acquire the skills necessary for success in a global, knowledge-based economy and society. The programs that the company supports are designed or selected for their ability to spark or increase student interest in STEM, improve teacher effectiveness, and ultimately improve student achievement and outcomes in STEM disciplines.

In addition to supporting a high quality education in science and math at the K-12 level, upon which other disciplines and areas of study are built, the company’s specific interests are related to inspiring and preparing students to pursue careers in the mining industry, including mining and chemical engineering, metallurgy and geology programs as well as finance, economics and computer technology.  Further, we also believe in preparing students to pursue trade or technical certifications for high paying jobs as electricians, mechanics, or process technicians.

What PreK-12 STEM programs, particularly those contained in STEMworks, does your company support?

Contained in STEMworks:

Engineering is Elementary
Full Option Science Systems (FOSS)
Intel Math
NMSI AP Program

Other High Quality / Highly Scalable STEM Programs Supported:

Teach for America – Science & Math Initiative
University of Arizona – Teachers In Industry Program
American Modeling Teachers Association
The Arizona Science Center – Center for Leadership In Learning
Paradise Valley School District – MineZone program
Science Foundation Arizona – AZ STEM Network

Please share ways in which your company collaborates with state/local organizations or other companies around STEM learning.

Freeport-McMoRan collaborates with many local and state organizations as well as other companies around STEM learning.

In 2011, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation became a partner in 100Kin10, a national collaborative of funders and program providers all focused on high quality STEM teacher recruitment, preparation and retention.  The company pledged $1.5 million over three years to support STEM teacher development programs in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.  Partners in this geography (in 100Kin10) include University of Arizona, ASU, and the American Modeling Teachers Association, as well as national organizations providing programing in Arizona such as Teach for America, Intel Math, National Math and Science Initiative, and Change the Equation.

At a statewide level, Freeport-McMoRan supports Science Foundation Arizona’s STEM Network, a collective impact effort designed to connect schools with programs, businesses and resources to improve student performance in STEM education.  The Network works to facilitate collaboration in funding and analysis of proven or promising programs through ongoing engagement, monitoring and measurement, technology and logistical support.  In January, 2014, the Network launched a state version of Change the Equation’s STEMworks database to evaluate program efficacy in AZ.  Since 2008, Freeport-McMoRan has been the lead supporter for the establishment and ongoing work of Science Foundation Arizona’s STEM initiative which included the launch of the Arizona STEM Network in 2012, providing a total of $2.2 million to help strengthen the STEM education system in the state.

The company also partners with the Arizona Science Center (ASC), a statewide resource for families, teachers and students that inspires interest and learning in STEM in an engaging, entertaining setting.  In addition, through support from Freeport-McMoRan, ASC has created the Center for Leadership in Learning under its umbrella, a dynamic professional development organization supporting efforts to increase STEM education quality in both the formal and informal arenas.

Research is another area of collaboration for the company, with a current research project underway in partnership with ASU Morrison Institute focused on employment trends and the education /skills gap in Arizona.  This important research project will work to identify the much talked about “skills gap” and facilitate better collaboration among all vested partners related to understanding the alignment (or lack thereof) between industry needs, employment trends and education/skills training available to produce a qualified workforce able to compete for available jobs – in particular STEM jobs.  With the adoption of Move on When Ready and the pending implementation of the College and Career Ready Standards (formerly known as the Common Core Standards), it is an ideal time to create better alignment between education and industry. Ultimately, students are more likely to excel and persevere along their chosen career path if that path leads to employment and not a dead end.

The company supports science fairs, after-school enrichment programs, STEM outreach, science teachers associations and other local STEM programs.