Newark, NJ—While women make up half the U.S. workforce, only about a quarter currently hold STEM positions, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. As a result, the Panasonic Foundation announced it is joining the Million Girls Moonshot (MGM) initiative by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund (STEM Next).
Panasonic will contribute one million dollars over the next three years to reimagine who can be an engineer; and to inspire career pathways into STEM fields. This move is in keeping with the company’s mission of contributing to society as a key principle in its foundation. It also aligns with its commitment to drive change through technology.
“As a materials scientist and engineer, I know the importance of early access and exposure to remove barriers to entry in the STEM field,” said Ainissa Ramirez, PhD. Dr. Ramirez is also a board member of the Panasonic Foundation. “By creating connections and building confidence in young girls, we’re also empowering them to reimagine their futures.”
Panasonic Foundation and Million Girls Moonshot
MGM is committed to engaging one million girls across the country in STEM learning opportunities by 2025. Moreover, it will do so through after-school and summer programs. In support, the Panasonic Foundation is donating Panasonic ToughBook laptops to multiple MGM out-of-school programs.
These will include the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows; City of Reno Sierra Kids before and after school programs; Nevada Math and Technology Program at the University of Nevada, Reno; and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension 4H program. The partnership will also expand to another region in the country where Panasonic has business. The company will announce that region later this year.
“With the [Covid-19] pandemic having a long-lasting effect on education, it’s critical we work to bridge the gender gap by creating opportunities and pathways for the next generation of engineers, innovators, and creators.” said Alejandra Ceja, vice president, Office of Social Impact and Inclusion and executive director, Panasonic Foundation.
“At Panasonic, we strive to move the world forward; we are proud to join the Million Girls Moonshot initiative to advance equity in STEM education, diversify and strengthen the tech talent pipeline and build a more inclusive workforce.”
Moreover, on November 8, National STEM/STEAM Day, eight female engineers from Panasonic volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. They led a group of girls in a hands-on STEM education workshop focused on engineering design. The Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows is one of the thousands of afterschool and summer program providers engaged with STEM Next through MGM.
STEM Next Opportunity Fun
STEM Next was created in the legacy of the Robert D. Noyce Foundation. The STEM Next Opportunity Fund brings high-quality STEM learning to millions of young people. It also helps close the gender gap in STEM careers.
As a national leader, strategic guide, policy advocate as well as investor, STEM Next is bringing about a transformative expansion of high-quality and inclusive STEM learning opportunities. “By investing early in the lives of our children, we are transforming their lives and preparing them for the 21st century economy,” the organization stated.
The Panasonic Foundation
The Panasonic Foundation aims to create better lives. It is committed to creating a better world by increasing educational opportunities for disadvantaged students. Moreover, it does so through strategic philanthropic investments in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).
“Our local and national mission is an extension of our core principles,” according to its mission statement. “We are dedicated to supporting efforts that advance educational excellence.”