What is the San Diego STEM Ecosystem Initiative? What is its main purpose? 

The San Diego STEM Ecosystem initiative cultivates and supports bringing together local stakeholders across education, science and business sectors to ensure all students have opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills they need to thrive. The local initiative in San Diego is reimagining how community partners, in and outside of school, can coordinate efforts and align resources to provide quality STEM education for more students. When we surround San Diego residents with STEM-rich learning environments, our region, individuals and businesses can reach their full potential.  

Who leads the Ecosystem Initiative? 

The San Diego STEM Ecosystem is lead by an Executive Leadership Team, a Steering Committee, and six Working Groups made up of representatives from formal education, informal education, higher education, the business community, parent associations, STEM funders, community organizations and education foundations.  

The Fleet Science Center serves as the Central Project Office (CPO) or the backbone organization of the San Diego STEM Ecosystem. The CPO supports and staffs the Steering Committee, Executive Leadership Team, and the Working Groups. The CPO roles and responsibilities include maintaining overall strategic coherence, coordinating and managing the day-to-day operations and implementation of work.
What are the Working Groups and how do they operate? 

The general mission of the Working Groups is to build county-wide networks primed for collective action initiatives.

Working Groups in the San Diego STEM Ecosystem play a vital role in engaging government, school systems, higher education, industry, the nonprofit community, funders, afterschool program providers and informal science organizations to increase STEM learning opportunities through various platforms. These networks and enduring connections will bridge the gap in STEM education and skills for students by supporting learning outside of school, while also continuing STEM literacy and competency for life-long learning. 

The purpose of a Working Group is not to carry out the mission of individual programs, although the missions may be aligned. Each group considers, “what can we do together that we could not do apart? What exists that we can leverage? What can we start now?” Each of the working groups serve to network amongst same focused organizations, strengthen organizations among all sectors, and through collaboration, gather support and sustainability for programs. Working Groups may dissolve once their primary purpose is fulfilled. 

How is the Ecosystem funded? 

Each partnering organization finds funding for their programs and initiatives.  The Central Project Office for the Ecosystem is currently funded through grants and other external funding sources. 

To support the Ecosystem initiative, please visit our Network For Good page.

Can any organization join the Ecosystem?

Yes! Anyone and everyone is welcome to join the STEM Ecosystem initiative. Whether it be signing up for our monthly newsletter using the form at the bottom of this page, joining a focused Working Group, or providing an opportunity, all individuals are encouraged to be part of the movement toward providing STEM learning opportunities throughout all corners of San Diego County. 

Why is it important to cultivate and support the Ecosystem?

Local stakeholders know what is best for their community. And yet, there are untapped opportunities for local, regional and state school systems and community organizations to work together to provide high- quality STEM education for more students, particularly underserved and underrepresented students. Barriers to collaboration often include lack of time and resources, and lack of infrastructure. The STEM Ecosystem Initiative provides the necessary support to help local stakeholders with a common goal align their resources and efforts to maximize results for kids, teachers and parents—and to create systemic change in how the community prepares students for success through STEM.

What does the SD STEM Ecosystem Initiative envision for the future?

Our nation is finally heeding the call for greater support for student proficiency in STEM, particularly for underserved and underrepresented students. In the coming years, we will see silos breaking down across education, business and community leadership so that all stakeholders with a common vision can work together to maximize STEM learning and exploration for all students and prepare all young people to meet the demands of 21st century jobs. 

Across San Diego, we envision connected initiatives in communities that provide opportunities for learners across their day, month, year and lifetimes.  We also are striving for easy ways for communities to access resources and connections for STEM learning.