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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.

Bids

Examples of recent STEM related bids include:

Clark County School District in Nevada
 
Issued a bid in March 2015 requesting educational toys, furniture and supplies such as a grinder table, a wind tunnel museum and Tegu block sets for the district’s STEM program.
Watertown School District No. 14-4 in South Dakota
 
Issued a bid in April 2015 requesting a Yaskawa Motoman MHJF STEM Robotics Platform with Cognex Educational Vision System to help students learn robotic programming using the same equipment deployed in factories around the world and provide students with the skills required for careers in advanced manufacturing.
Lapeer County Intermediate School District in Michigan
 
Issued a bid in March 2015 to hire STEM summer camp instructors that must plan and provide instruction in one or more of the following 4 areas: 1) science, 2) technology, 3) engineering and/or 4) mathematics.

 

Active Contracts

Recent awarded STEM-related contracts also reveal opportunities for a variety of industries including office furniture and construction.
Examples of active contracts include:

Red Clay Consolidated School District in Delaware
 
Awarded a one-year contract in March 2015 worth $116,058.47 to Diversified Educational Systems to provide Modular Tech Lab and Tech/STEM Lab furniture for the Stanton Middle School & Conrad School of Science.
Woodbridge Township School District in New Jersey
 
Awarded Dell a contract in April 2015 worth $203,407 to provide 240 laptops with licenses and eight carts. Each middle and high school will receive 30 laptops and one cart for the STEM Integration project.
Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public School District No. 196 in Minnesota
 
Awarded J.S. Cates Construction a one-year contract in June 2014 worth $231,624 for the 2014-15 science lab room STEM upgrade at the Valley Middle School of STEM. The project includes selective demolition, gypsum board construction, new hollow metal doors, plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems.

 

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:

San Dieguito Union High School District in California
 
Approved Project Lead The Way in January 2015 to provide STEM programs and curricula from January 2015 through June 2015 with a one-year extension. Each program is $750 to $3000 per year.
Ysleta Independent School District in Texas
 
Awarded an eight month contract in November with three one-year extensions to multiple vendors (Agile Mind, Cerebellum Corp, Lab Resources, Nasco, Pasco Scientific, Teaching Systems and Western Technical College) to provide a comprehensive list of STEM products, services, support and training including curriculum software programs and teacher training courses.
Baltimore County Public Schools in Maryland
 
Awarded a five-year $700,000 contract in September 2014 with three possible extensions to Amtek to provide 3D printers to be used in their STEM engineering courses offered through Project Lead The Way.

 

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:

Washington School District in Missouri
 
As part of the 21st Century Learning Plan, the school district's 2014-2015 Annual Budget plans to implement STEM courses in K‐12 by 2016 to “provide students with opportunities to expand critical thinking and problem solving skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math and expand their knowledge of career opportunities.”
San Francisco Unified School District in California
 
The school district's recommended 2014-15 budget plans $1,956,570 to support SFUSD’s vision that “every student will graduate from high school ready for college and careers, equipped with the skills, capacities and dispositions necessary for 21st century success.” The 56,000 PreK-12 students “must have access to a rigorous and comprehensive [STEM] education and to the technology tools used in the workplace of the future.”

 

Future plans will also incorporate other key
educational programs and initiatives with STEM growth:

Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified District
 
In the school district's 2014-2017 Technology Plan draft, the STEM curriculum is an area that the district expects continued growth with STEM programs offered at High School, Intermediate, and Elementary levels. Schools are also in process of considering expansion of the STEM curriculum to include the Arts and possibly transition to a STEAM curriculum.
Jersey City Public School District
 
The school district's 2013-2016 Technology Plan proposes the district adopts a strategy by 2016 for promoting STEM+ Learning, which includes support for gaming technologies in STEM learning, creation of hybrid spaces in school libraries for exploration and support for teachers as they “meld content, pedagogy, and the new standards, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into their classrooms through the use of STEM’S Engineering Design (ED) emphasis.”

 

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.