Can efforts like the Freescale Foundation make a difference in promoting STEM education, or is it just good corporate citizen PR?
Freescale Semiconductor last week announced the creation of a non-profit organization focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
Freescale (Austin, Texas) said it would make an initial contribution of $5 million to the Freescale Foundation and plans to continue making ongoing contributions.
STEM education is a hot button topic here on the pages of EE Times and elsewhere throughout the U.S. electronics. The story is well known an oft-repeated: science and math are hard and the jobs in those fields—while important and potentially lucrative—are not considered very glamorous in a U.S. media that worships entertainers, sports stars and real housewives of wherever.
The Freescale Foundation's goals including promoting STEM learning at all levels of the education continuum; reducing the "STEM education gap" among women and underrepresented populations; influencing the development of the technical workforce of the future; and, of course, strengthening Freescale’s corporate citizenship and social responsibility.
The foundation will accept 2013 grant applications through Aug. 30 from qualified organizations that meet a certain criteria, including qualified organizations supported by Freescale’s approximately 17,000 employees, Freescale said. The Foundation will focus on requests from eligible nonprofit organizations in communities where Freescale employees live and work. More information can be found on the foundation's website.
Many other chip companies, including Intel and Texas Instruments, support STEM education through various programs. In fact, companies throughout the broader electronics industry are doing more to support STEM while at the same time gain publicity as a better corporate citizen—just last week test and measurement equipment vendor Tektronix announced a $75,000 donation to Oregon State University and talked about its support of STEM with our Janine Love.
It's encouraging to see that many companies are recognizing this issue and throwing money at it. But can it make a difference? I'm curious what readers of EE Times think of efforts like this one.