The future of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education took a crucial step forward with the launch of the Sport and STEM Alliance during Beyond Innovation, a global gathering of leaders at Levi’s Stadium on Tuesday. The Sport and STEM Alliance is a coalition of like-minded, leading global organizations driving innovation in STEM education through sports.
The world needs a workforce of skilled STEM innovators to address not only the most pressing global challenges of the coming century: food shortages, exponential increases in non-communicable diseases, climate change, energy shortages, and more, but also for governments to drive their economic prosperity.
In the next decade, 80% of jobs will require STEM skills; responsible, leading, organisations know that their future workforce - and subsequent returns - will rely on the next generation being inspired to engage in STEM education from a young age. STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, and the U.S. is not producing enough candidates to fill them. Only 16% of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers, according to the Department of Education.
Sport has long been heralded as a powerful platform with which to engage society, and it has become increasingly sophisticated in both its programming and the social issues on which it can make an impact. The 49ers, the NHL, Chelsea Football Club Foundation and the NBA have already shown that sport can play a role in getting, and keeping, more young people engaged in STEM subjects. (See Notes to Editors)
Since 2009, Beyond Sport, the global force for sustainable change through sport, has taken a broad view of what sport can do for society. Recognizing the pressing need for new approaches to STEM education, Beyond Sport came together with the 49ers Foundation and Chevron to host Beyond Innovation, the first-ever event that explored how sports can be leveraged as a tool to improve, empower and create new approaches to STEM education.
Global influencers and decision makers from government, business and sports convened to hear from the likes of Pixar, EverFi, US 2020, Chelsea Football Club Foundation and HP, and were challenged to explore the opportunity for sports to be part of the solution to the very real challenge of preventing the predicted shortfall of 85million skilled jobs in the global economy by 2020.
Joanne Pasternack, Vice President & Executive Director, 49ers Foundation commented about hosting the event and on the Alliance, “To have the home of the 49ers as the backdrop for Beyond Innovation’s second-ever convening was special for the 49ers Foundation, which has worked for years to introduce innovative approaches to STEM education through efforts like the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute. The Sport and STEM Alliance will be a force for change as we look for ways to better prepare students for STEM-based careers and the 49ers Foundation is honored to be considered a founding member alongside Beyond Sport, Chevron and Verizon.”
The Voice of the 49ers, Ted Robinson, drew Beyond Innovation to a close with an upsurge of commitments from delegates to be part of this vital movement.
The outcomes of the event shaped the mission and objectives of the Sport and STEM Alliance, which will take action on key challenges in STEM education by sharing best practice, commissioning research, and widening the network and stakeholders in sport.
Steve Woodhead, Manager, Global Social Investment, Chevron commented on the Alliance, “STEM Education is imperative to ensuring today’s students are prepared to be tomorrows innovators. Engaging more students and increasing our collective impact requires partnership across the private and public sectors. Chevron is proud to work with Beyond Sport and all participants of Beyond Innovation to support young people in STEM”.
Joining the Founding Members of the Alliance - Beyond Sport, 49ers Foundation, Chevron and Verizon - are Two Circles, UNICEF, EverFi, Direct TV, HP and Chelsea Football Club Foundation.
Nick Keller, Founder & President of Beyond Sport commented, “When the 49ers won Beyond Sport’s Team of the Year in 2015, we took a closer look at what more sport could do in STEM through its ability to inspire young minds, to offer a wealth of practical and meaningful applications of the STEM subjects; and its remarkable capacity to engage corporates. Beyond Innovation was the ideal launchpad for the Sport and STEM Alliance, and we’ve already seen commitments from some of the largest businesses in the world to be part of this unique opportunity to leverage sport in the pursuit of engaging, effective and impactful approaches to STEM education.”
The Alliance will meet for the first time in New York City at Beyond Sport United, a two-day event supported by the major US leagues – MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA - which will draw together sports teams, leagues and brands with global development organizations, grassroot practitioners, social movement and campaigning entities, and international sports governing bodies to explore where sport’s role is in the current socio-political landscape.