How can students today see themselves in jobs for the future? Throughout Massachusetts STEM Week (October 18 – 22, 2021), we are encouraging young people to see themselves in science, technology, engineering, math as well as the arts (both STEM and STEAM). But, a student can only begin to see what their future career may be in STEM/STEAM if they have the access and opportunity to explore these technologies beyond the classroom each and every day.

While STEM Week is only five days, the Roundtable encourages our members to promote STEM education and careers with schools, community-based organizations and non-profits, government, and within the business community throughout the year. More than 10 years ago, the Roundtable released a call-to-action STEM research paper – based on input from Roundtable members – that served as a key framework in creating the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Fast forward to today, the Council continues to convene regional STEM Networks across the Commonwealth to celebrate STEM both in and outside of the classroom. The Commonwealth Corporation also released STEM Brief 2021, outlining the latest stats and findings on STEM in Massachusetts as well as the need and opportunity to grow STEM career pathways, especially among underrepresented groups in STEM including women and people of color.

As part of STEM Week, the Roundtable hosted an Open Forum for members to think about how the business community can continue to be an effective partner in STEM education and careers. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, joined for this forum and called for greater action to connect students to internships, jobs, and pathways for meaningful careers in STEM as a strategy for Massachusetts to attract, retain, develop, and diversify talent – pillars of the Roundtable’s Talent Agenda to Drive Massachusetts’ Competitiveness.

Companies from the Berkshires to the Cape are opening their doors (many virtually for now) to provide experiential, hands-on learning experiences so students can understand and better appreciate the science and technology behind how companies innovatively do business today. During this forum, we had the opportunity to learn best practices from iRobot, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Design Communications – all sharing a common theme of “authenticity” when shaping impactful partnerships with schools and community programs. How does a robot operate? What is the science behind life saving solutions? Can a love for art create the next stadium sign? Lisa Freed of iRobot, Dr. Melodie Knowlton of Vertex, and Mike McCarthy of Design Communications demonstrated these questions can be answered by forging authentic partnerships and strategies to spark student interest today.

What about companies unsure how to engage or how to be a partner in STEM? Below are a few tips:

  • Check out the STEM 2021 Brief for some background on STEM in Massachusetts
  • Hire future talent! Ask the Roundtable about summer and afterschool internship opportunities to hire a young person interested in STEM or inquire about the range of apprenticeship programs and career pathways paving the way for adults to pursue STEM training and career opportunities.
  • Connect with your Regional STEM Network as a resource to bridge relationships within your region. The Massachusetts STEM Week site also outlines ways to get involved regionally and statewide (  
  • Connect directly with members of the Roundtable leading this work! In addition to iRobot, Vertex, and Design Communications, employers such as General Dynamics, Siemens, Amazon, Dell, and Google continue to build partnerships to promote STEM education and careers within schools and the community.
  • Save the date for the Annual Massachusetts STEM Summit – April TBD, 2021!

And stay tuned for the release of a statewide dashboard that tracks activity in STEM throughout the Commonwealth!