STEM Core Initiative Launch Pilot Project

We partnered with Growth Sector, a workforce development intermediary and Saddleback College on the evaluation of the National Science Foundation’s STEM Core Initiative. The project was funded by the NSF INCLUDES program (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) and received a 9.9 million dollar grant to scale the pilot nationwide.

NSF INCLUDES is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations by focusing on diversity, inclusion and broadening participation in these fields at scale. NSF INCLUDES is one of the 10 “Big Ideas” for Future NSF Investment. These “Big Ideas” are meant to capitalize on what NSF does best: catalyze interest and investment in fundamental research, which is the basis for discovery, invention and innovation, as well as education and research infrastructure. enhanced STEM Core model that leveraged learning from early pilot efforts. The funded initiative was tailored to and implemented at both their current SCI campuses and a set of five new campuses.

A key objective of the NSF INCLUDES initiative is to engage current NSF awardees working on broadening participation as well as the broader STEM community in the creation and development of the NSF INCLUDES National Network. To help provide connections to this community, NSF is supporting efforts that: create, analyze and aggregate knowledge and assessments; implement, expand and sustain effective practices; contribute to fundamental research in the science of broadening participation; and foster connections to the entire NSF portfolio that can lead to a change in the culture of STEM by placing inclusion and equity at the core. By building the infrastructure for partnerships, communication and collaboration, NSF aims to advance and scale up what works in broadening participation programs to reach underserved populations nationwide.