Companies are providing new resources for Arizona STEM classrooms

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industries have some of the most rapidly growing job markets in the nation, yet many schools still struggle with resources to properly prepare students – Arizona companies are trying to fix that. Local and national companies are donating technology and providing mentorship programs to primary and secondary educations.

According to the Education Commission of the States, state STEM jobs are expected to grow by more than 21 percent over the next ten years. However, the same report showed that in 2017, 24 percent of eighth grade math teachers in the state lacked proper resources to prepare students – this is five percent higher than the national average.

Arizona falls behind the national average of STEM preparation in multiple other categories, which is why large technology companies are donating resources and offering mentorship to curb this regression. Adding more technology in primary and secondary education classrooms better positions kids for careers in STEM, giving them more opportunities while also drawing more employers to the state.

In February, Amazon donated over 4,000 pieces of technology to Arizona schools, including tablets, laptops, headphones, and drones. The donations came as a supplement to Amazon’s “STEM Pro Live!” partnership with Maricopa County, through which students can view live tours of a variety of tech businesses and programs.

Plus, the donations extended past technology for secondary education academies. Amazon also donated children’s toys for elementary schools and special needs programs, which is equally thoughtful and helpful.

AT&T is another company that has supported Arizona schools. Instead of donating technology, the telecommunications company runs a STEM mentorship program called AT&T Aspire Initiative.

“Through the AT&T Aspire initiative, AT&T helps provide access to education and training that students will need to succeed in the 21st century workforce. Since 2008, we’ve committed $450 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world,” explains AT&T spokesman Scott Huscher. He adds, “In Arizona, we’ve recently supported educational programs through organizations like Valley of the Sun United Way, Native American Connections and UMOM. More than 400 students have been mentored by our employees through the Aspire Mentoring Academy in the past five years.”

Huscher highlights technology as a major boon for students because of its wide availability and versatility. He continued, “Technology is making it easier for everyone – regardless of age, gender, income or geography – to learn anytime, anywhere.”

These companies’ combination of donations and programs provides new opportunities for students who otherwise might not have these resources. Technology and mentorship gives Arizona youth resources to secure employment in a rapidly growing STEM job market.

Ben Norman

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