For the last several months, the NeoSTEM Ecosystem community has been identifying what it believes to be the greatest unmet needs of students in Northeast Ohio.
Our community has concluded that people – especially in minoritized communities – have little or no understanding about STEM opportunities that exist locally. Furthermore, there is a general consensus – supported by data showing limited diversity in STEM careers – that many don’t recognize the value of pursuing STEM and don’t see themselves in such careers.
The NeoSTEM community has decided that its top priority for 2021 is to make STEM opportunities visible and relevant to students, families and the entire community, with a focus on improving black and brown students’ engagement with STEM.
We’re proceeding by designing a public awareness building campaign about STEM and STEM careers. This campaign, consisting of billboards, social media and other public outreach, will drive people to an online resource that explains STEM pathways, includes links to relevant providers and features key profiles of individuals (and students) who are pursuing STEM.
The idea is to use a variety of public messaging vehicles – websites, social media, billboards, busses and fliers to community centers, schools, corner grocery stores – to increase the public’s understanding of how they can engage in STEM and what workforce pipelines exist. The underlying premise of the campaign is that improved access to and engagement with STEM improves people’s lives and strengthens communities.
The public awareness campaign is intended to drive people to opportunities that exist in the local community and to discover existing workforce career pipelines – through traditional and non-traditional pathways.
We will work to engage numerous partners in the effort.
NeoSTEM will serve as the backbone organization for this effort and will create content and manage production, following guidance that is developed by the planning committee.
Raise the visibility of STEM professions
Show students and others that people who look like them are in STEM professions
Provide direction about pathways for pursuing STEM professions
Collect resources and information about STEM pathways into a central place
Our primary focus will be underserved students and families living in a radius of 10 miles of the city of Cleveland.
Additionally, we will reach out to others in the community capable of lending support to various initiatives and programs to be promoted through the visibility campaign.
We will actively seek press coverage for the initiative in the hope of triggering others to engage in the program.
CORPORATE PARTNER ROLE:
We are seeking one corporate partner to provide thought leadership as well as financial support for the work. The corporate partner would serve on the planning committee, helping to steer decisions, make introductions and guide the implementation of the work.
NeoSTEM will contract with Dr. Terrence Robinson of Success Pathways Alliance to lead the project.
Success Pathways Alliance will convene relevant and interested stakeholders to design the community awareness initiative and the follow-up steps.
Specifically, the planning team will decide on the chosen STEM pathways, identify messengers to best communicate those pathways and oversee the implementation of the community awareness plan as well as the necessary follow-up.
SCOPE OF WORK FOR SUCCESS PATHWAYS ALLIANCE:
- Identify and convene stakeholders, including, but not limited to:
- The Rite Board
- TEAM NEO
- Fund for Our Economic Future
- The Urban League
- Great Lakes Science Center
- Case Western Reserve University
- Cuyahoga Public Library
- Cleveland Public Library
- Lorain County Community College
- Progressive Arts Alliance
- Cuyahoga County ESC
- National Inventors Hall of Fame
- Sherwin Williams
- Rockwell Automation
- Plain Dealer
- Crain’s Cleveland Business
- Lamar Advertising
- Key Bank
- Huntington Bank
- Cleveland Foundation
- Digital C
- Dix & Eaton
- Falls Communications
- Office of the Mayor of Cleveland
- Office of the Mayor of East Cleveland
- Cuyahoga County Administrator
- Other interested business and NeoSTEM partners and stakeholders, including mentoring organizations etc.
- Develop agenda and pre-read materials for two meetings with stakeholders that will include:
- Presentation of data about existing STEM career pathways, pursuits and local needs
- Presentation of big idea
- Refinement of big idea
- Request for input for careers and/or role models
- Assignments for creation of content
- Asks for support of various partners
- Develop action plan for implementation of community awareness building campaign with timeline and assignments for each item developed (Op-Ed, press release, profile, billboard, flier.)
- Develop action plan for implementation of follow-up (Where are we driving people) – creation of landing page that can be used as a link for all partners and others.
FUNDING and ANTICIPATED COSTS:
NeoSTEM is seeking one dominant funder, who will receive naming rights for the project. Additionally NeoSTEM is seeking other funders who will receive logo placement on all materials and mention in all promotions.
|Project coordination||$32,500 (250 hours x $130/hr)|
|Content production, including graphic and website design, project management and billboard and bus placement for three months.||$40,000|
|TOTAL ESTIMATED COST||$82,500|
|Planning committee recruitment and agenda development||January 2021|
|Planning committee meetings||February 2021|
|Content production||March 2021|
|Campaign launches||April 2021|
|Planning committee post-mortem with data analysis and discussion of next steps||July 2021|
Below are notes that have been compiled from a series of NeoSTEM meetings where the idea was developed. (These notes can be helpful for understanding the background and some of the foundational shaping ideas.)
- Please tell us who or what you believe might inspire students to pursue STEM by adding some comments here.
(You will see comments from many who joined the Dec. 1 NeoSTEM meeting. Feel free to continue adding your thoughts.)
- For the last several months, the NeoSTEM Ecosystem has identified that many students, especially black and brown students, may not be able to see themselves in STEM careers.
- Our goal is to make STEM opportunities visible and relevant to students, families and the entire community, with a focus on improving black and brown students’ engagement with STEM.
Over the last several weeks, you have said that this work can take the form of some or all of the following:
- Communications initiative with features of local STEM professionals and students – with an intentional focus on Black and Brown STEM professionals and students.
- Clearly identified and widely communicated STEM workforce pathways, including a concentration on less-familiar STEM career opportunities.
- Widely communicated messaging about the relevance of STEM with a concentration on the importance of science.
- Broadly shared messaging intended to dispel fears of STEM.
WHAT MESSAGING VEHICLES WILL WORK BEST?
- The public outreach needs to reach students, families, teachers and our entire community. So, what vehicles might work best? Please add your comments here. (Be sure to open the comments that have already been added.)
HOW DO WE MAKE STORIES ACTIONABLE?
- How can we ensure that there are meaningful action steps for students to follow once their interest in STEM is sparked? Please add any thoughts here.