The Importance and Impact of STEM in the Community

The Importance and Impact of STEM in the Community

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Friday, November 8, 2019 - 9:00am

CONTENT: Blog

by  Nehal Shah

Consistent with our company commitment to make a positive impact on communities, two of our affinity network groups, STEM UP (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the EAC (employee activity committee) have championed STEM causes in the community. STEM UP’s mission is to develop and retain a diverse workforce, which will positively affect our company’s outcome with regard to innovation and performance. To operationalize this mission, STEM UP has three pillars of focus including recruitment, retention and service-learning. The EAC has a mission to facilitate community service and employee engagement activities in order to make a significant impact in our local community and boost employee morale. Over the years, both affinity network groups have worked with ON Semiconductor employees to invest resources, time and effort to increase access to and interest in STEM.

To learn more about the impact our company and employees are having in the community with regard to STEM, we recently invited representatives from our long-time partners Junior Achievement of Arizona, Semi Foundation, Future Stars, Inc. and Phoenix Christian Preparatory School for a panel event. Among the wider populations that they serve, each of the nonprofits and schools cater to low-income and underrepresented populations. We had the opportunity to hear from our partners on the impact we have made together.

Tell us more about your organization and the demographics of the community you serve. What is the importance of STEM in the community you serve? How have you promoted STEM in those communities? And, how has your organization increased interest in and aptitude for STEM.

Kelby Milgrim, Phoenix Christian Preparatory School:

Phoenix Christian Preparatory School services various groups that are represented by foster, inner-city single-parent homes, international and minority students. STEM has been promoted in various courses we offer at our school through MESA, robotics, forensics, biology, anatomy and chemistry. The interest has increased with due to our competitive classes in engineering and robotics, which have placed well in various competitions.

Dena Kidd, Junior Achievement of Arizona:

Junior Achievement is a 100-year-old organization and has had a presence in Arizona for 62 years now. We’ve served over 84,000 students, mostly from low-income and diverse backgrounds. Through our programs, we aim to prepare the future workforce through financial literacy and entrepreneurship. We believe that the majority of careers today require some proficiency in STEM, if not entirely STEM-based. We have a few specific STEM-oriented programs such as our middle school STEM Summits, STEM portion in JA You’re Hired or JA BizTown.

Shereka Jackson, Future Stars, Inc.:

Future Stars was created to help students reach their full potential in academics and athletics. The organization supports students with mentoring, financial awareness, training, and school-related resources that are often stumbling blocks for school advancement. The demographics of the community that we serve are low income, minorities with most residents only having a high school diploma. We have promoted STEM in these communities by providing the Hands On STEM program for nine months in a year at both community centers and at the annual Hands On STEM Fair. We have increased enrollment in both programs and attendance to the fair over the last five years.

Bryson Gauff, Semi Foundation:

Semi Foundation’s Semi High Tech U program offers high school students three days of hands on learning from industry professionals. Because SEMI High Tech U serves a global audience, we have the challenge and opportunity of adjusting our program to address the needs of each city we are in. We are always striving to reach those underrepresented students, who have all the talent needed but have not engaged with our industry. STEM education has received a lot of attention these past 15+ years; it is essential that students are introduced to STEM skills to be viable candidates. Our program works to demystify what engineering is and to make it relevant and attainable for our students. One of our core desired behaviors is that a student “demonstrates an interest and aptitude for high tech.” We hope that through our three days of experiential learning, students will be able to feel more confident in their ability to pursue STEM.

Why do you think it is important for companies and individuals get involved in promoting STEM through nonprofits and at schools

Kelby Milgrim, Phoenix Christian Preparatory School:

Companies are investing in their future workforces by supporting these STEM programs. The money that is donated to the nonprofits organizations and schools is critical to continue reaching and focusing on the future.

Dena Kidd, Junior Achievement of Arizona:

The success of our community depends on how prepared today’s students are to succeed in their futures. Innovations in all areas of STEM are critical for continuous improvement and advancement in our community. It’s important that schools, nonprofits and the business community continue to keep the world of STEM top of mind for our students to pique interest and encourage them to keep innovating. Ultimately, one-third of the children engaged will go into careers that the volunteers represented.

How has ON Semiconductor helped your organization and how would you like your organization's relationship with ON Semiconductor to evolve in the future?

Kelby Milgrim, Phoenix Christian Preparatory School

Our relationship with ON Semiconductor has been essential in establishing our STEM programs with MESA and robotics. My hope is that they would connect directly with my students by coming and working with my students. This could be done by helping with my engineering or robotic students on their projects or challenges.

Shereka Jackson, Future Stars, Inc.:

We would love for ON Semiconductor to continue to support the current programs that Future Stars, Inc. provides and help us in growing the program throughout the valley. We love the volunteers that come out and support the STEM Fair and would like to see volunteers come to the program days. We believe that the more the students see STEM professionals that look like them, the more likely they are to want to become one.

Dena Kidd, Junior Achievement of Arizona:

ON Semiconductor has been an instrumental partner in our efforts to raise awareness of STEM careers with our students, in addition to promoting financial literacy and entrepreneurship. While we are proud to serve more than 84,000 Arizona students each year, there are many, many more waiting for our programs. Our hope is that our partnership with ON Semiconductor will continue to grow so that we can reach more of those students with the critical skills to succeed in work and life.

Bryson Gauff, Semi Foundation:

The SEMI Foundation has been lucky to partner with ON Semiconductor. We started with delivering the High Tech U program here in Phoenix, then we expanded to South Portland, ME and will be adding programs in Idaho in 2020. Past just being a consistent sponsor of the High Tech U program, ON Semiconductor has shown a willingness to help us explore new program models. We are working to build a High Tech U program for university students; one that takes students closer to hire and gives them the behind the scenes look at what working at a company looks like. Knowing that ON Semiconductor is willing to pilot activities and will give actionable feedback makes it easy to want to build bigger and better programs. Of course, the money allows us to do our work too, but the experience is just so much richer when we have experts like ON Semiconductor in the room.

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CATEGORY: Education