Q: What do you get when you bring Vice President Joe Biden, Change the Equation and 26 U.S. companies committed to increasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy together over lunch?
- Intriguing conversations
- Some leftover pie
- A national Commitment to Excellence in STEM with signatory companies pledging to ensure all children in communities across the U.S. have access to high-quality, excellent STEM learning opportunities.
The answer is, all of the above! On Friday, May 16, Symantec joined Vice President Joe Biden and 25 other corporate leaders to sign Change the Equation’s (CTEq) Commitment to Excellence in STEM, a public call to action for a national movement to champion STEM literacy among all high school graduates. Change the Equation works at the intersection of business and education to ensure that all students are STEM literate by collaborating with schools, communities and states to adopt and implement excellent STEM policies and programs. This commitment stresses the corporate sector’s pledge to collaborate with each other, other programs and communities; high expectations for all students; data-driven advocacy for STEM; and the availability of high-quality STEM learning programs in communities across the country.
This public declaration also recognizes the importance of STEM literacy as a transformative life skill that impacts the future success of our young people and the ability of our nation to remain a leader in innovation. As cybersecurity issues become more prominent, the need for STEM-trained and -educated leaders that are ready to help solve cybersecurity problems is increasing. Currently, there are not enough STEM-educated people to service the needs of today, even less to serve the needs of tomorrow. In 2011, only 45 percent of U.S. high school graduates were ready for college work in math, and 30 percent were ready in science.
At Symantec, we see providing STEM and literacy education to children and young adults as a business imperative in order to build a diverse and innovative workforce. We specifically look to build programs focused on computer programming, teacher recruitment and training and afterschool education. By signing the Commitment to Excellence, Symantec aims to build on the work we have done with the Change the Equation program since 2010, continuing to engage students in STEM at a young age and increase access to career training for our future cybercrime fighters.
Jaime Barclay is Symantec's Corporate Philanthropy Program Manager.