FloridaLearns STEM Scholars Program Measures Post-secondary Success
The FloridaLearns STEM Scholars program contacted recent high school graduates to determine how many students previously enrolled in the program are continuing with a post-secondary education in a STEM related field.
The program is exceeding expectations in terms of reaching its overall goal of helping grow a STEM ready workforce prepared to compete in an increasingly competitive economy. It is expected that 9 out of 10 new jobs in the future will require STEM relevant training according to the report, "Closing the Talent Gap", issued in 2010 by the Council of 100, a group of Florida business leaders who advise the Governor.
Now, the program is working to determine if the hard work to motivate and inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math scholars is having an impact. This is particularly important in the small, rural districts where STEM programs were previously difficult to implement and sustain.
Early data indicates that of the 233 students contacted, 222 are currently enrolled in college or receiving other professional training. Of those continuing on to college, 160 students, or 72% have chosen a STEM major.
In 2012, the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) competed for and ultimately won a Race to the Top award to fund the program. Working in conjunction with the Northeast Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC), and Heartland Educational Consortium (HEC), the program has impacted more than 1,000 students across the state during the first three years of the program. Originally funded as a three-year project, the program has been extended for the fourth year.