2014 White House Summit on Working Families
Over a thousand government leaders, advocates, employers and more gathered for the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families on June 23 to focus on creating 21st century workplaces for today’s working families. Along with First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama delivered remarks during the summit, highlighting “paid leave” and “improved child care” as solutions to supporting working families.
To further demonstrate the importance of workplace flexibility, representatives of working families were invited to discuss how innovative and supportive workplaces have impacted their lives. Shawnta Jones from AlphaBEST Child Care Center in Port Tobacco, MD, was invited to introduce the Caregiving breakout panel during the summit. Shawnta, whose son has been attending AlphaBEST Child Care Center since he was eight weeks old, discussed how AlphaBEST has helped her manage work and life by providing a safe, healthy learning environment for her family while allowing her to pursue higher education and contribute to her family’s self sufficiency.
Watch the video below to hear Shawnta’s story (start at 1:20):
Clinton Global Initiative 2014
Our Executive Vice President Judy Nee was invited to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative on June 23-25 as a part of the STEM in Education workgroup. This year, CGI America focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. Within the STEM in Ed. workgroup, Judy also participated in a discussion about STEM in after school/out of school time, which included leaders from the philanthropic, research and programmatic communities. As a group, they discussed a vision for STEM in after school and formulated a plan to engage all stakeholders in raising students’ awareness of and exposure to STEM-related careers and activities.
To learn more about the mission behind CGI America, check out: 5 Ways CGI America Commitments Are Turning Ideas Into Action [INFOGRAPHIC].
Engineering puts the “E” in STEM, an acronym used to describe the study of science, technology, engineering and math. STEM careers are rapidly growing, and engineering represents a majority of these STEM jobs. (To learn more, read Computing and Engineering in Afterschool). In order to prepare our students for a STEM-driven economy, educators must provide activities that spark students’ interest in STEM. Afterschool is a great catalyst for students to explore engineering though hands-on, student-centered activities.
Here are five ways to incorporate engineering in afterschool:
- Educate. Many students do not know much about engineering or what an engineer does. Once they discover engineering, students may develop an interest in the topic. Check out this video by NASA to introduce students to engineering.
- TryEngineering. This organization offers 114 lesson plans designed to get students interested in engineering. Lessons can be selected based on students’ age range and by an engineering topic, like robotics or motion and forces.
- Robotics. Programs like LEGO Robotics pair computing and engineering to tap into students’ problem solving skills. At AlphaBEST, students build and program robots according to step-by-step instructions. With robotics, students explore the basics of engineering by focusing on what makes the robot work.
- Mentor. Leverage community resources to put a face to engineering. Invite parents and other community members to further explain engineering and to discuss their careers with students. There are also programs, such as Engineering for Kids®, that will bring fun, hands-on engineering projects to your program.
- Discover Engineering. This website provides hands-on activities, videos, games, field trip ideas and other resources to discover engineering in your afterschool program. Activities are tailored for educators, parents, volunteers and students, and many of their activities can be translated into other languages.
Educators should build a year-long commitment to spark students’ interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Check out this Pinterest board for 50+ activities to incorporate STEM in afterschool.