The innovation economy is growing in our own backyard.  But will today’s students be prepared for tomorrow’s STEM jobs?

Despite being a renowned center of learning, many students in Boston public schools are struggling – especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects. In the 2017 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) standardized achievement test, 87 percent of Boston Public School 8th graders failed to score “proficient” in science, technology, and engineering.  

Research shows that when students view math or science favorably, their academic achievement in those subjects is higher, which further encourages them to pursue potential STEM careers. Unfortunately in Boston, eighth graders who report that their favorite subject is math or science is one-half the rate reported by fourth graders. This can impact their futures, as eighth grade is when students make course selections for high school that will chart their future career path.

bostemBoSTEM – An Opportunity for Success

United Way is convening a cross-sector solution to keeping kids engaged in the STEM subjects that will define our future economy.  Collaborating with Boston After School & Beyond, and Boston Public Schools, and working with companies like Vertex, Gilbane, Digital Guardian and KPMG, our goal is to present engaging STEM opportunities to 10,000 Boston middle school students by 2022.  

BoSTEM provides hands-on, high-quality learning opportunities that work alongside out-of-school time programs and with corporate volunteers, giving students a chance to apply STEM skills in exciting, real-world contexts. BoSTEM also aligns curriculum instruction across school and out-of-school time, and most importantly offers hands-on, experiential learning with industry professionals.

Early results are promising

In 2017, BoSTEM delivered an average of 106 hours of out-of-school programming per student.  77% of all students reported positive gains in STEM Interest overall and 80% of students reported positive change in social and emotional skills.

United Way Receives Grant to Expand STEM in BOSTON Public Schools

United Way was recently awarded a 5-year, $3.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of their Education, Innovation and Research program to fuel the expansion of BoSTEM in Boston Public Schools. This funding will allow us to sustain and more rigorously evaluate BoSTEM over the next five years.

The grant aims to increase student interest in STEM and STEM-related careers, as well as refine, scale and evaluate BoSTEM as a best practice for quality STEM education and college/career readiness. Even so, we need your support more than ever as we strive to refine and scale our program beyond Boston.

Read more about the work that the grant will fund here.

Get Involved

There are lots of ways you can get involved in creating a strong STEM foundation for our kids. One of the best is hosting a field trip to your workplace and showcasing the kind of work you and your colleagues do. Don’t forget to explain the foundations of the work, especially if they’re based in an aspect of STEM.

You can also volunteer at a STEM after school or summer program in your area. There are kids across the city who need a proper introduction to STEM, and taking some time out of your day to teach them will help foster a stronger educational foundation.


Change can’t happen without you!

Find out More

For more information about corporate engagement and sponsorship of our STEM work, contact Kelsey Killoran at or 617-624-8216.

For program information, contact Joe Rosenbaum at or 617-624-8108.