Washington (August 9) — The BHEF U.S. STEM Education Model® has been honored by the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) with its 2012 Leveraging Excellence Award. NCCI recognizes initiatives that significantly scale, leverage, and impact effective higher education practices, and it commends BHEF for the use of the BHEF U.S. STEM Education Model ("Model") to support improvements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) policy and practice.
"BHEF is honored to accept this award from NCCI. This national recognition reinforces the Model's place as the definitive resource for those addressing the STEM workforce challenge today. BHEF's academic and business members know that this solution is not only about STEM degree attainment, but also about jobs. By scaling programs, such as BHEF's regional workforce projects, which follow the Model's key finding that focusing on STEM undergraduate education has the highest ROI in terms of STEM graduates, the Model is moving the needle to create the workforce our nation needs to remain competitive in the 21st century global economy."
The Model was developed in 2007 through the leadership and foresight of BHEF member William H. Swanson, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon. Then co-chair of BHEF's STEM Initiative, Swanson recognized that innovations in science and engineering have driven economic growth in the United States over the last five decades and, during this period, the U.S. enjoyed world leadership in STEM workforce development. Recently, however, U.S. leadership has slipped. Swanson tasked his system dynamics engineering teams to develop, for the first time, a sophisticated modeling tool to answer the complex education question—what are the highest leverage education strategies for increasing the STEM workforce—and created the first generation of the Model. Raytheon donated the Model to BHEF in 2009. You can run the model on Forio here.
"Raytheon is delighted that our investment in the U.S. STEM Education Model has already had such a large impact," said Swanson. "BHEF's efforts to develop enhancements of the model will help our nation secure the strong STEM talent pipeline which is critically important for us to continue as an innovation leader."
In light of recommendations made by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), calling for one million STEM graduates by 2020 in order for the U.S. to remain competitive in the global economy, the Model is essential to national programmatic efforts, such as BHEF's regional workforce projects, working to address this shortfall. It demonstrated that focusing on attrition in undergraduate majors can impact persistence within one year and degree completion within four years, shedding new light on the higher rate of return on such investments in higher education.
On Capitol Hill in June, as part of its national strategy, BHEF launched a new innovative approach to industry-higher education partnerships. A dozen projects, based in California, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin are addressing America's toughest workforce challenges in engineering, cybersecurity, big data, life sciences, water, energy, and entrepreneurship.
BHEF's regional initiatives not only contribute to achieving the goals PCAST outlined in its February 2012 report, Engaged to Excel, but also respond to the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which called for increasing the number of industry-driven undergraduate research internships and production of engineering degrees nationally.