The Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective (PSEC) is a $10 million, 10 year commitment by a global healthcare company, GSK, focused on increasing the number of women, Black/African American, and Latinx Philadelphia students to overcome obstacles to their pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The PSEC, established in January 2020, will work hand-in-hand with schools, out-of-school time providers, universities and colleges, employers, local government, and the philanthropic community using a collective impact model to identify and close gaps confronting children from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM.
The efforts are being guided by the Philadelphia Education Fund, which coordinates the city’s 400-plus-member Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem. GSK will provide backbone support for the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective by funding dedicated management staff at the Philadelphia Education Fund and contributing the time and talent of pro bono GSK volunteers. In addition, GSK will support in-school programming and community efforts through annual grants of $1 million a year for 10 years to local nonprofits.
“PEF was founded by individuals who believed Philadelphia school children deserve equitable access to college and career success,” said Farah Jimenez, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund. “Students who are underrepresented on college campuses and in high-growth careers deserve our support to access these opportunities,” added Ms. Jimenez, “and we are grateful for the leadership, partnership, and commitment exhibited by GSK’s investment in the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective.”
Philadelphia is the sixth-largest US city in a region that is the nation’s eighth-largest STEM industry hub; it is also a city with a non-white majority – 43% of the population is Black/African American and 15% of the population is Hispanic or Latino. Nationally, while women constitute 50% of the college-educated workforce, they comprise only 28% of the science and engineering workforce. Black/African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans make up 27% of the adult U.S. population – but only 11% of workers in science and engineering occupations. To improve these outcomes locally, the Collective will focus on increasing access to STEM programs in the community, creating equitable and diverse education-to-career pathways, and establishing work environments where women, Black/African American, people, and Latinx people thrive.
GSK has a long history of investing philanthropic dollars in science education programs aimed at diverse and underserved audiences, most notably their 34-year-old GSK Science in the SummerTM program, which brings hands-on, free science camps into communities for thousands of US students each year.
The Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective is a natural next step in this work, and GSK and PEF welcome the involvement of additional schools, community organizations, and the philanthropic community. To learn more please visit Equity Collective | Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem (philastemeco.org) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.