Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs are the fastest growing and highest paying across education levels. However, interest and readiness for STEM occupations among high school students continues to decline. High quality educational opportunities that connect STEM skills to everyday life and future jobs can get more young people interested in and ready for these promising careers, particularly girls and low-income black and Latino students who often do not have access to such opportunities. At the Long Island Community Foundation our grantmaking goal in the area of education is to prepare students for success in college and the workforce.
More Long Island workers trained for jobs that require science, math, engineering, and technology skills are needed. Jobs within this sector, known as STEM, can be a game-changer for people living in poverty. Not only do they offer entry-level, professional opportunities with room to advance, but they generally pay very well. Although Long Island schools claim to get students college and career ready, the skills they are learning are not connected to the skills needed for local jobs. As a result, local industries have vacancies for quality jobs while many of Long Island’s youth remain unemployed or underemployed. The Long Island Community Foundation is working with the ECNY Foundation to launch and expand Career Map LI, a comprehensive digital roadmap to connect people to training and careers with a shortage of skilled workers.
Youth from low-income communities are more likely to avoid cycles of failure and achieve success if they have ongoing academic, personal, and social supports. With funding from the Long Island Community Foundation, Project Morry, a youth development organization, is working with students in North Amityville and Copiague, giving them the tools and confidence to set and reach goals, including a college degree.
A grant from the DeWitt Wallace Fund for Youth to the Hofstra University Museum for Art Travelers program provides opportunities to inspire learning and increase cultural knowledge. The Art Travelers program fosters links between classroom curriculum and the study of authentic cultural objects selected from the Museum’s collection.