Washington STEM is a statewide, independent nonprofit organization committed to advancing opportunity for those students most underserved and underrepresented in STEM (science, technology engineering and math) fields. It was created in 2011 by business, education, nonprofit, and government leaders to narrow the talent gap in high-demand STEM jobs. The organization serves as an independent advocate for STEM education access, equity, and policy to ensure every Washington youth has the skills they need to pursue a family-sustaining career and thrive in our dynamic innovation economy.
The vision driving Washington STEM is to prepare Washington’s youth to be career-and-future ready by 2030. Its goal is for 70% of Washington’s 2030 high school graduates to achieve, by age 26, the postsecondary credentials needed for high demand, family-sustaining jobs.
Washington STEM does its work by creating partnerships to drive collective action, identifying focus areas where they can have the biggest impact on student lives, and by offering pragmatic, nonpartisan policy recommendations to state lawmakers that will improve STEM access and success.
Washington STEM’s organizational priorities include:
- Drive results by doubling down on Early STEM and expanding and diversifying the workforce through Career Pathways
- Spread what works by expanding data and impact measurement and learning, policy, and advocacy
- Grow a strong and sustainable organization by developing the talent, funding, branding, core operations and business practices with a diversity, equity and inclusion lens
To achieve them, Washington STEM:
- Convenes, facilitating cross-sector work to create solutions to STEM education needs
- Advocates, changing policies to bring the best STEM education to Washington students, especially students of color, girls and young women, students living in high poverty, and students living in rural communities
- Uses high-quality, cross-systems data analysis and insights to identify the most pressing problems, and support STEM Networks and partners in the policy, advocacy, and convening work they do on behalf of Washington students
- Works with and through a distinctive regional STEM network that brings together 10 independent regional partners (including local educators, business and community leaders, and STEM professionals) to build student success and connections with STEM career opportunities. This model honors each region’s unique needs and pathways of opportunity for all young people to thrive in STEM fields in their local economies.
Washington STEM recognizes that historical and systemic inequity, institutional racism, and lack of economic mobility in rural communities are persistent for students of color and students living in poverty. The talented staff and influential board of directors acknowledge that it is impossible to fulfill their mission without creating an equitable and inclusive environment for staff, partners, and for the people they serve.
Housed in an innovation center with appealing amenities just south of Seattle’s thriving technology hub, the Washington STEM team of 19 actively fosters community and a commitment to equity. They share an urgency for the mission and a predisposition for hard work, while supporting each other, upholding collegial collaboration, open-doors, flexibility, and caring, helpful attitudes.
- Familiarity with the issues faced by students of color, young women and girls, and students living in poverty and/or in rural communities whether through personal or professional experience
- Demonstrated success developing and nurturing strategic alliances with partner organizations and unifying, managing, and influencing diverse stakeholders toward collective impact
- Accountability for the fiscal health of an organization or program; can provide examples of identifying, pursuing, and successfully soliciting new sources of funding
- Skilled management of complex enterprise or network partnerships through sustained growth and scale in the public, social, or private sector
- Proven participatory and inclusive leadership style that fosters diversity, equity, high performance, respectful collaboration, and accountability
- Effective engagement of a high-profile board of directors
- Understanding of education and workforce policy landscape, especially in Washington state, and the intersection of business and government in shaping policy and pathways