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Raytheon: Encouraging STEM Education through Multiple Channels


Today’s college, secondary, and primary education students constitute tomorrow’s workforce. When those students seek to enter the permanent workforce, many positions, especially in modern manufacturing, will require them to have an academic background in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Many manufacturers already struggle to find applicants with the right skills, a problem that could get worse over time. The 2013 Program for International Student Assessment found students in the U.S. scored 26th in math, 21st in science, and 19th in reading, among the 34 developed economies. The findings, published each year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, show the U.S. is not making progress. Moreover, a 2011 Harris Interactive survey found that while half of all parents want their children to pursue career in STEM fields, only 24% were willing to invest money to help them succeed in science and math classes.

Given the magnitude of this concern, it is not surprising that manufacturers are taking action. One of the leaders is Raytheon, the respected provider of mission systems integration, and advanced capabilities in sensing, effects, and command, control, communications, and intelligence systems. The Masssachusetts-based firm seeks to engage and inspire students while they’re young, and support them in their formative years. Raytheon’s MathMovesU program uses an interactive web site, scholarships, and event sponsorships to help prepare students, from middle school age through college, for the U.S. workforce.

Furthermore, Raytheon and the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) have produced the first-ever simulation and modeling tool for the STEM education system. This useful tool allows researchers, government policymakers, and educators to explore policy scenarios that can strengthen STEM education and workforce outcomes. The National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education chose the model for a 2012 Leveraging Excellence Award.

Raytheon even uses football to stimulate interest in STEM. At Patriot Place, home of the New England Patriots football team, the company sponsors entertaining interactive games and exhibits that highlight numbers and football. Thousands of students participate in these games and exercises each year.

Many other companies are also involved in encouraging STEM education. Considering the stakes, the efforts of Raytheon and these other manufacturers are an important of the manufacturing landscape today.