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Investments in quality afterschool STEM policy will continue in 2019

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Investments in quality afterschool STEM policy will continue in 2019

For successful advocacy efforts, slow and steady wins the race. Advancing legislation or budget requests at the state or federal level requires resources, content expertise, and a dedication that often spans a timeframe far longer than originally anticipated. As we enter the third year of a state-level afterschool STEM policy effort with statewide afterschool networks, our sights are set on building on the accomplishments achieved thus far, including $30 million in new funding for STEM education in Pennsylvania in the last year and the establishment of Vermont’s first statewide funding stream for afterschool this past September.

Over the last two years, the funding provided by Overdeck Family Foundation has allowed the Afterschool Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition (a national Coalition of 750+ business, professional, and education organizations with a stake in the STEM ecosystem) to support afterschool networks interested in developing and advancing afterschool STEM policy efforts in their states.

“We know children who attend high-quality afterschool STEM programs demonstrate improved STEM attitudes, knowledge, and skills—and have a higher likelihood of graduating and pursuing a STEM career,” said Brian Carter, program officer at Overdeck Family Foundation. “We’re proud to support Afterschool Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition as they work with states to prioritize afterschool STEM funding and ensure more children have access to these life-changing programs.”

The Afterschool Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition are excited to announce the continuation of this effort by working with the largest group of state networks to date. Sixteen state networks have been selected to receive financial support, along with technical assistance and resources from the Afterschool Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition. The state afterschool networks selected to participate are:

“The funding from Overdeck Family Foundation and technical support from Afterschool Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition has served as a vital component of Pennsylvania’s STEM policy success,” said Laura Saccente, network lead at the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network. “The investment resulted in a 34-member cohort of STEM Ambassadors, selected state leaders in afterschool, higher education, business, and formal education trained to engage policymakers in STEM education. The Ambassador effort resulted in legislative meeting on afterschool STEM topics; participation in Lights on Afterschool events; recruitment of Afterschool Caucus members and, most recently, a $30 million STEM/workforce state investment known as PASmart.”

During 2019, each network will focus on advancing afterschool STEM programming in their states, and working closely with the Afterschool Alliance and STEM Education Coalition to ensure they have access to any resources and assistance needed. For some states, efforts established as part of previous grants from the Afterschool Alliance and Overdeck Family Foundation will allow them to build upon the foundation established in previous years, while new states will begin identifying opportunities or partners to engage around afterschool STEM efforts, building the capacity to advance towards advocacy wins in future years.

The recognition of the power of the statewide afterschool networks has continued to be elevated through the success of state-level afterschool STEM policy, and we thank Overdeck Family Foundation as a key partner in this work.

Look for further details from select state networks on their success stories and any tips or advice they can share for others interested in replicating their success in their states.

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