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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Why STEM + Families?

STEM careers in the United States are growing twice as fast as other fields. This huge growth has created a situation in which the demand for qualified STEM professionals is high, but the supply of qualified STEM workers is low—especially among underrepresented groups like minorities and women. To meet the rapidly-growing demand for qualified STEM professionals and develop the next generation of leaders, we must help students and families build the necessary competencies and skills to pursue STEM degrees and career opportunities. Families play an essential role in helping their student navigate educational choices on the path toward a fulfilling career. Families are the links to enrichment opportunities, as well as influencers of students’ perceptions of what is possible for their future.


Our vision is that every student has access to high-quality STEM education opportunities and every family is equipped to guide STEM education choices and career pathways, regardless of the students’ zip code, ethnicity, race or gender.


Increase access to STEM education and careers, especially among under-represented youth, by developing, evaluating and sharing effective ways to inform and engage families in STEM experiences, while working with our partners to improve access to STEM school and community learning environments.


To achieve this goal, National PTA and its partners wiill deploy several strategies that will generate collective impact, mobilize schools and communities to engage families, and deepen awareness about STEM possibilities through public education. PTA’s strategies are:


Lead a collective impact approach to engaging families in STEM by inspiring educators, STEM professionals, community organization and private/public entities to develop strategies to engage families in school and community settings and share research findings about effective practices.


Mobilize schools and communities to engage families in STEM experiences and improve STEM learning environments by providing resources and support to enable local efforts.


Build awareness about STEM education and career opportunities by educating families about the career opportunities available in STEM, as well as ways to influence and support their students’ education and career decisions.

Measurable Outcomes

Through STEM + Families, National PTA will create:

  • A body of research demonstrating effective ways to engage families in STEM
  • community of practice of individuals, organizations and private/public entities that commit to encouraging family and community engagement in STEM and to sharing best practices and lessons learned
  • An online hub for sharing program models, proven strategies, research findings, evaluation tools and other resources for family and community engagement in STEM
  • 100,000 STEM experiences for families generated by June 2018
  • Increased awareness about STEM opportunities and the ways families can influence students’ academic and career pathways to STEM fields
  • Improved school and community resources for STEM

View this STEM + Families Infographic to learn more:

STEM + Families Infographic

Read more in National PTA’s STEM + Families Overview and STEM + Families White Paper: Increasing Students’ Access to Opportunities to STEM by Effectively Engaging Families.


Founding &
Presenting Sponsor

Founding Sponsor

Huntington Ingalls Industries
Supporting Sponsors

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