From food security to climate change to water scarcity, the world needs a new generation of leaders prepared to use science and technology to tackle these global challenges. To prepare the next generation and help teachers make the connections between science and real-world issues, Dow is investing in the workforce of tomorrow on many fronts:
Dow is helping teachers make STEM education more accessible and providing hands-on programs to apply science by collaborating with a number of institutions. For example, Dow is partnering with the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) to support educator participation in professional development academies and jointly developing hands-on activities for Dow STEM Ambassadors to bring into classrooms. It also partners with the Chemical Educational Foundation by supporting the You Be The Chemist Programs, providing educators with hands-on professional development training, experience and activities for their classrooms – while also giving students an opportunity to test their knowledge of chemistry and science in an academic challenges.
In 2014, we formally launched Dow STEM Ambassadors, a group of trained employees who are getting out into strategic Dow communities to inspire students and support teachers. By the end of 2017, we had more than 3,000 STEM Ambassadors support more than 2,500 teachers and reach more than 23,000 students in the classroom.
One of the greatest challenges facing the manufacturing industry today is a shortage of candidates with the technical skills necessary to qualify for key roles now available in the manufacturing sector. Dow is helping provide a pipeline of talent with our U.S. Apprenticeship Program, which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Through partnership between Dow and local community colleges, the fully paid U.S. Apprenticeship Program offers three-plus years of training and on-the-job experience in STEM-related career pathways. Since its 2015 launch, the program has grown to more than 100 apprentices at seven sites across four states – Michigan, California, Texas and Louisiana – with plans for expansion.