In early 2014, four long-standing community leaders with deep roots in education and economic development recognized that Black and Brown children in Portland, OR were not being exposed to activities in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and, mathematics). Youth in North and Northeast neighborhoods, where schools have historically received less funding, were offered limited classes in math and science. Furthermore, students of color received far fewer opportunities to be exposed to activities that provided immersive experience in STEAM topics, such as Lego Robotics, coding classes, etc.
The NE STEAM Coalition was organized in 2014 with the goal of ensuring that all children of color in the Portland Metro area, particularly African American children, have equitable access to STEAM education, activities, and careers in technology.
Our Coalition exists to provide resource development, advocacy, outreach, awareness, programming and support to provide culturally-responsive, STEAM opportunities and activities to youth. We work with community, government, schools, industry and STEAM partners to make that happen, providing a bridge to the youth and families we work to serve.
STEAM jobs are abundant and growing in the United States, so much so that millions of these jobs go unfilled every year. Positions in these lucrative fields pay, on average, a median hourly wage of $38.85. Yet, people of color and women continue to be underrepresented. The NE STEAM Coalition aims to change this.
To prepare youth of color, with a focus on African American youth, for a future in the STEM/STEAM workforce by providing access to top notch opportunities in STEAM education and activities.