It’s no surprise to educators that providing a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) creates long-term positive benefits for students as they prepare to join the workforce.
In the past 10 years alone, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than non-STEM jobs. A strong workforce, in turn, strengthens local communities. McKinstry believes that the private sector has an important role to play in supporting these advancements in education, and we have a long history of putting that commitment into action in our communities through investments of our time, talents and resources.
We care about the future of today’s students, and we want to see the next generation succeed. That’s why we’re dedicated to creating opportunities for students from all backgrounds. So, what do we do?
- We invest in solutions as part of our culture. Passion for advancing excellence in STEM education is driven from the top down. McKinstry’s senior leadership in Seattle partnered with leading Puget Sound companies to found Washington STEM, a statewide non-profit aiming to serve as a model for innovative thinking and action to other STEM organizations nationwide. The collaborative effort is working to bridge education and the economy by incubating breakthrough ideas in STEM teaching and learning, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurial skill development, and advocating for important policy changes that can help tackle the opportunity gap for students that are historically underrepresented.
- Multiple times each year, employees bring the classroom to McKinstry. By inviting students to our Seattle campus, they can see firsthand what it’s like to work in a STEM-related industry. Beyond the Pacific Northwest, other McKinstry offices have partnered with regional educational organizations to advance curriculum that better prepares students for high-demand, fast-growing technical careers.
- We take local action. In the Great Lakes Region of Minnesota and Wisconsin, McKinstry employees have been guest lecturers at a university campus and K-12 career day events to encourage students to learn more about—and pursue—opportunities in STEM-related work environments such as sustainable design, engineering, fabrication and smart building technologies.
- We go beyond curriculum. To connect with those in historically disadvantaged areas, employees have adopted a school in an underprivileged neighborhood and volunteered time as “Principal for a Day;” provided scholarships for students to attend educational conferences and university courses; and donated hats, mittens and school supplies to some of our K-12 district customers to distribute to their students in need.
In today’s economy, where an increasing number of jobs require STEM skills, opportunity is now tied more closely than ever before to preparing students early and often for their future careers. McKinstry will continue to seek ways to connect students with the knowledge and tools that help them become important contributors to our future workforce.