According to the U.S. Department of Education, the position of the United States as a global leader is threatened: Not enough American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics or pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) -- and because there is an “inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects.” To ensure that the U.S. is a leader in the future global economy, President Obama laid out a plan for all American students to receive a strong STEM education in the 2013 Federal 5-Year Strategic Plan for STEM Education. More recently, the President's Fiscal Year Budget for 2016 invests $3 billion (3.6% increase over 2015 enacted levels) to improve and expand STEM learning in the U.S., under the guidance of the STEM education strategic plan. Supporting this plan are non-profits such as the STEM Education Coalition, an alliance of more than 500 business, professional and education organizations. Their mission is to inform federal and state policymakers on the critical role that STEM education plays in U.S. competitiveness, future economic prosperity and for the U.S. to “remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century.”
K-12 Schools Take Action
Not surprisingly, there is significant activity at the state, local and education (SLED) levels of government to plan, implement and grow STEM learning in K-12 schools. Some schools are well on their way to realizing federal goals. Some school districts are not:
In Seattle, Washington, 10 high schools and three middle schools will offer computer-science courses starting in the fall of 2015. The Seattle Times reports:
"The courses will begin to address a growing problem: Washington businesses are creating jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields, but the state is failing at preparing its students to seize those opportunities. To close that gap, the state must invest more money and resources in expanding efforts already under way and look for smarter, long-term solutions to better prepare students entering the job market."
Onvia has a large database of procurement activity from more than 80,000 SLED entities in the U.S. According to Onvia’s Project Center, there were hundreds of bids & RFPs for STEM published in the last year, evidence that there are plenty of opportunities for vendors looking for business. The top players in the market are educational and technology vendors. But opportunities exist in other industries such as construction as schools look to remodel or build new facilities for STEM education programs.
Examples of recent STEM related bids include:
Recent awarded STEM-related contracts also reveal opportunities for a variety of industries including office furniture and construction.
Examples of active contracts include:
Many STEM Initiatives Require Ongoing Support
Onvia’s Term Contract Center reveals that there are a number of active multi-year contracts or contracts with extensions. Examples of current contracts include:
The Future Looks Bright for STEM
At the White House Science Fair held in March 2015, President Obama watched with admiration while five six-year old Girl Scouts from Tulsa, Oklahoma demonstrated their STEM-inspired Lego page-turner invention. At the fair, President Obama announced more than $240 million in pledges to boost STEM learning and expand high-quality STEM education programs. In the private sector, companies like Cognizant, Verizon Wireless and Adobe are providing grants to K-12 schools. Across the country, there are events like STEM2Work and NSTA’s STEM conferences geared to encourage, support and promote STEM learning. Partnerships between K-12 schools and local businesses & colleges are being established to also support the growth of STEM initiatives.
Onvia’s Spending Forecast Center provides access to future STEM spending from plans and budgets of state & local agencies and school districts. Looking at agency plans and budgets reveals over 450 STEM-related upcoming opportunities, many for educational, professional and technology products and services:
Future plans will also incorporate other key
educational programs and initiatives with STEM growth:
Opportunity to Build a STEM Contracting Pipeline
Technology -- and the science, engineering and math behind it -- is pervasive across all aspects of our lives. Connecting students with 21st century knowledge is necessary to succeed in many careers and is key to the country’s status as a global and competitive leader. With the help of federal funding, coalitions and a variety of grants and partnerships, state & local governments can implement STEM curricula, build STEM programs and institute STEM Magnet schools. With the STEM bids, contracts, technology plans and adopted budgets all found in Onvia’s platform, there’s ample opportunity now and into the future. Technology, education, construction vendors and other specialists have the opportunity to generate business by assisting state and local governments in the adoption and implementation of STEM programs.