New York: Tata Consultancy Services, the leading Indian IT services and consulting group, has joined US2020 as a Founding Leadership Partner.
US2020 is a national STEM education initiative that aims to engage one million science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) professionals in mentorship opportunities by the year 2020. The announcement was made during President Bill Clinton's closing plenary session at CGI America, a nationwide gathering hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative.
TCS will be the lead partner in developing US2020's web-based matching technology to connect STEM mentors with high-quality volunteer placements. It will also provide more than $500,000 in cash and in-kind support, and it hopes to get 20% of its own STEM workforce mentoring students by 2020.
Through the online matching platform that TCS will develop, US2020 will help place STEM volunteers into high impact mentoring opportunities with top nonprofits working across different grades, settings and delivery models. As more companies join this effort, their early leadership will help catalyze a culture shift in which mentoring becomes the new normal for STEM professionals, much like pro bono work is in the legal profession.
"We need these one million volunteers to ensure that we're going to have students take the courses that will inspire and prepare them for STEM careers," said President Clinton.
President Clinton also announced a competition inviting US cities to share ways they can significantly increase the amount of STEM mentoring in their communities. The strategy will select and support up to five cities that propose plans to mobilize STEM volunteers through partnerships with leading science and technology businesses. The cities will be offered $1 million or more in cash and in-kind support to bring together businesses, nonprofits, city governments and local philanthropies around a coordinated effort to spark the minds of students across their communities.
"To succeed on tomorrow's world stage, students must have a solid foundation in STEM and be fluent in the technologies that will power the global economy of the 21st century," said Surya Kant, President of TCS' North America, UK and Europe operations.
"TCS is proud to bring not only its technological expertise to this national effort, but also the passion and commitment that its employees have in lending their talents to positively affect their communities, across the country and around the world."
STEM graduate shortage
By 2018, research shows that STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17%, with 71% of STEM jobs focused on computing including cloud, data, app and security. This contrasts sharply with the mere 17% of high school graduates who are proficient and interested in pursuing STEM careers.
One example of TCS' efforts to move the needle in STEM education is the company's goIT Student Technology Program. The TCS goIT program, which began in Cincinnati five years ago, has evolved from a two-school camp to a multi-city, year-long program that has influenced over 7,000 students across 40 school districts to increase student excitement and participation in technology-related careers. From its initial beginnings in Cincinnati, this year goIT will be a nationwide program spanning 10 US locations as well as the greater Toronto region in Canada.
US2020 was launched as one of five private sector initiatives at the White House Science Fair in April 2013. Through US2020, skilled STEM volunteers will bring subjects to life and provide engaging moments of discovery to even more students across the country through real-world, hands-on projects and academic coaching facilitated by nonprofits like The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF), Citizen Schools and others.
Ultimately, these students will have access to career opportunities they might never have considered and will help fill the STEM jobs of the future that will keep the country economically competitive.
"We believe it is essential to offer engaging learning experiences with STEM professionals to students who need their support and the opportunity for cities to utilize their STEM workforce to educate and prepare the next generation of STEM professionals," said Eric Schwarz, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools and Executive Chairman of US2020.