Baker-Polito Administration Celebrates 2nd Annual STEM Week with Kickoff at the Museum of Science

The following is a press release from the Governor’s office submitted to SOURCE media.

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BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, educators, business leaders and other state officials kicked off the second annual statewide STEM Week at the Museum of Science today, October 21, an effort to encourage more young people to explore science, technology, engineering and math studies and careers.

More than 400 schools have applied-learning lessons planned for the week, and nearly 1,000 events will take place across the Commonwealth to engage students in STEM activities. 

At the Museum, the Governor signed a proclamation declaring October 21 through 25 statewide STEM Week, with a focus on encouraging young people across the Commonwealth the “See Themselves in STEM.” 

Strengthening STEM education in the Commonwealth’s K-12 schools and deepening the STEM workforce pipeline is a priority of the Baker-Polito Administration. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito co-chairs the STEM Advisory Council along with Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III and Jeffrey Leiden, chief executive officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

The STEM Advisory Council is appointed by the Governor and includes education and business leaders in STEM industries that work to promote STEM education, partnerships among industries and schools and internships for students. 

“We hope that STEM Week sparks interest among students to explore science, engineering, technology and math as fields they could pursue in their future careers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As STEM-related industries like biotech, clean energy, information technology, and manufacturing continue to thrive in the Commonwealth, the demand for highly-skilled young people is a pressing issue for the state’s economy and I am grateful to Lt. Governor Polito for her leadership on this initiative in her capacity as Co-Chair of the STEM Advisory Council.” 

“We have made tremendous strides in boosting STEM education in Massachusetts schools over the past several years, but there is too much untapped potential in classrooms as young women and minority students are still widely underrepresented in these fields,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We appreciate all the hard work done by schools, businesses, colleges, libraries, museums, and other nonprofit organizations to make this week a success and look forward to celebrating the week across the Commonwealth.”

Employment in STEM-related occupations is projected to grow to more than 9 million jobs nationwide between 2012 and 2022 – an increase of about 1 million more jobs over 2012 employment levels, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The need for STEM graduates particularly impacts Massachusetts because more than 40 percent of all employment in the Commonwealth revolves around innovation industries such as clean energy, information technology, defense, and advanced manufacturing, according to the Massachusetts’ Plan for Excellence in STEM Education.

“In an economy increasingly reliant on STEM skills, students shouldn’t have to dream big just to envision a STEM career,” said Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III. “Throughout this second annual STEM Week, thousands of students will be given the opportunity to work closely with leaders in business and education to gain experience in our most rapidly expanding economic sectors. Leaving so much untapped potential on the field not only fails our moral obligation to our students, it drains the economic growth we need instead.”

“STEM Week is helping us change the way we teach topics like science and engineering – it brings learning out of the textbook and into the real world with hands-on problem solving,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. “Like most of my scientist friends, I got hooked on science by my outstanding fifth grade teacher. Developing the next generation of scientists is all about capturing their imagination early and showing them how much fun a career in science can be, and that’s what this week is all about.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the Governor, Lt. Govenor, Secretary Peyser, and Congressman Kennedy and other leaders from government, industry, and education to celebrate the kick-off of the second Massachusetts STEM Week here at the Museum of Science,” said Gwill York, Board Chair for the Museum of Science. “For millions of people every year, the Museum of Science lives out its mission to deepen the public’s relationship with STEM by highlighting its critical role in our day-to-day lives. As a cultural institution and educator of science, technology, engineering and math, we take very seriously our role in helping to break down barriers and dispel any misconceptions around what STEM is or who belongs in STEM. STEM is for all. As a member of the MA STEM Advisory Council, we welcome the close partnerships we have with city and state agencies, schools, colleges, and industry, to support our common goal to build STEM education in Massachusetts.”

Over the past several years, Massachusetts schools have boosted the prominence of STEM subjects. Public high school students are now able to substitute a computer science course for a lab science or mathematics to meet their MassCore curriculum requirements.

The state adopted new digital literacy and computer science curriculum frameworks, giving public school students their first statewide standards in a subject that is increasingly becoming essential to college and career success.

And in 2017, the state created a new license for computer science teachers. 

The Baker-Polito Administration is focused on giving more students career exploration learning opportunities. Schools across the Commonwealth have strengthened career coaching and planning, and state education officials are working to help school districts develop and expand programs in high schools that give students rigorous college-level courses in STEM subjects through early college and career pathway programs. 

At the state’s vocational and technical schools, the administration has made significant new investments, more than $65 million over the past four years, to make sure students learn on the most up-to-date industry standard equipment. 

“We would like to see more students gain applied learning experiences so they develop real-world skills and knowledge in STEM-related fields,” said Secretary of Education James Peyser. “It is critical that all students are able to use these skills to think critically and solve problems, both in school and in the workplace.”

“Science, technology, engineering and math are great subjects for hands-on experiences that have students work together to investigate questions and explore fields that they might not have considered,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley. “I’m glad to see students and teachers engaged in this work during STEM Week and throughout the year.”

The Governor and Lt. Governor, along with their Cabinet secretaries, will take part in several STEM Week events throughout the week. 

To find out more about STEM Week events, visit the Mass STEM Week website

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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