By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital curriculum resources, content, and professional development for K-12 classrooms nationwide, has announced the creation of a STEM Careers Coalition.

Officials said the initiative will help educators develop a pipeline of students who are interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields. It will also provide no-cost resources to students and educators, including virtual field trips, digital instructional assets and career exploration videos.

Discovery Education officials said these resources would help students build foundational STEM knowledge and develop 21st-century skills for college and career success.

The initiative will scale up over five years, and it’s expected to reach 10 million students by 2025 with support from various corporate partners. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

“Last week we launched a critical initiative about future careers, a conduit through which students can see the work of the future, and a set of resources that bring relevancy to learning and broaden our understanding of and engagement with STEM,” stated Marla Wilson, the Senior Director of the Coalition.

“This world of work is most effective when the individuals contributing to and leading this evolution represent the diversity of our communities and the richness of multiple perspectives. We are excited to work with our anchor partners to intentionally focus on girls and students of color, as we move to provide equity and access and de-mystify STEM,” she added.

The initiative launched at the Carnegie Institution for Science, where former astronaut Leland Melvin joined a panel discussion that included leaders in education, industry and government.

Members of the newly formed coalition includes key anchor partners like the American Petroleum Institute (API), Chevron, The Manufacturing Institute, Boeing, Microsoft and Best Buy. Each of those companies has provided seed funding and support to power the initiative’s launch.

The initiative would take place in a phased approach that includes a pilot year. The program will scale up over five years, and it’s expected to reach 10 million students by 2025 with support from various corporate partners. 

Among the components of the STEM Coalition’s work is a direct investment in schools by providing K-12 STEM career resources, STEM Connect access, professional development for under-resourced schools and direct professional engagement in the classroom.

Coalition members will also underwrite Discovery Education STEM Connect in local communities identified by the partners.

Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges for Engineering, STEM Connect is an interdisciplinary resource that enhances the core curriculum.

It helps students build valuable problem-solving skills as they develop and apply solutions to critical real-world challenges.

Rooted in authoritative research, users become part of a global student laboratory to share data and collaborate with others around the world, officials stated.

“We really see ourselves as problem solvers, and we’re trying to tackle the world’s greatest energy challenges. Meeting the growing demand for energy around the world and producing building blocks that we need to manufacture everyday products and to fuel the economy,” stated Rebecca Winkel, an Economic Advisor of Regulatory and Economic Policy at API.

“It’s a big job, and we’re trying to do that smarter, safer, better, and more effectively every day. We know that to continue this work, we need a talented workforce. And we have quite a large workforce gap that we see coming.”

For businesses and organizations interested in learning more about joining the STEM Careers Coalition and school districts interested in learning more about the scholarship process, please visit https://stemcareerscoalition.org/.