Our mission statement: “Break the Cycle of Poverty through STEM Education and Workforce Development.”
Our mission statement has three elements:
· Break the cycle of poverty. We engage youth and their families from low income/high risk communities. Our objective is to inspire and support these youth along their pathway to success out of generational poverty into good jobs in the 21st century workforce; thus, leading to economic prosperity.
· Through STEM education. We introduce our underserved youth to hands-on, minds-on STEM learning experiences in an out-of-school environment. As our students persist in these activities they develop a STEM identity. This means that they internalize: “I like STEM, I can do STEM, and STEM is important to me”. Our students become more motivated to excel in their academics in school, graduate from high school in 4 years with high standing, and complete post-secondary school. We emphasize STEM education because STEM and STEM-related jobs are growing faster, with lower unemployment, higher compensation, and greater job satisfaction as compared to non-STEM jobs.
· And workforce development. We help our students develop 21st century workplace skills which we call the 4 C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. We help our students develop their career plans, obtain career-specific internships, and prepare themselves to enter the workforce.
For our organization as a whole, we expect to achieve these objectives over the 15 years it takes for a student to complete elementary, middle, high, and post-secondary school. We set immediate (1 to 3 years), intermediate (4 to 7 years), and long-term (8 to 15 years) objectives for our students. We have developed a Theory of Change Logic Model and associated indicators of success (see attachment). We use this model to track our students longitudinally to measure and report outputs and outcomes in each of the three time frames to provide evidence of mission success.
Program Evaluation Approach
LET’S GO has made significant progress in developing and applying our Theory of Change Logic Model and identifying our indicators of mission success associated with each change step. (Included with our attached Logic Model is a ‘how to read’ document to help you walk you through this thought process). We have developed a theory and formulated a series of hypotheses to demonstrate how LET’S GO is going to contribute to lessen the persistent poverty problem that has faced America throughout our history and break the cycle of poverty through STEM education and workforce development. We will introduce our big picture thinking prior to providing our in-depth outcomes.
Hypothesis – if youth from low income/high risk communities participate and persist in high-quality STEM learning experiences in elementary and middle school, they will, in the long-term, graduate from high school on time and in high standing, complete post-secondary school, enter the workforce in professional STEM and STEM related jobs, and achieve economic prosperity for themselves and their families.
Challenge — 15 or more years will transpire from the time one of our elementary school students enters our program until he/she will be successfully pursuing a career in a well-paying STEM or STEM-related career field.
Solution to Challenge — divide the 15yr time frame into immediate term (1 to 3 yrs.), intermediate term (4 to 8 yrs.), and long term (9 yrs. and beyond) outcomes.
In this Logic model, we have thought through a series of “if/then” statements associated with outcomes that can be measured and reported in each of these three time frames. The importance of each of the pairs of connected change steps (numbered boxes in our Logic Model) can be described in terms of a hypothesis. When each of the 13 hypotheses are tested and found to be true as stated, we will have proved the truth of our overall theory that we can help underserved youth break out of generational poverty through STEM education and workforce development. Our 15 principle hypotheses are stated as follows. Note that we initiate this discussion from Step 3 (box 3 of the logic model).
|3||Increased confidence in teaching STEM content can be accomplished through high quality training and ongoing support.|
|4||High quality, informal STEM programming can be provided to low income/high risk students.|
|5||Low income/high risk students will participate and persist in high quality, informal STEM programming.|
|6||Students’ participation and persistence in high quality STEM programming will lead to increase in STEM interest and identity.|
|7||Students’ participation and persistence in high quality STEM programming will lead to increase STEM content knowledge.|
|8||Increase in STEM interest/identity and increase in STEM content knowledge will lead to increase in students’ academic motivation.|
|9||Students’ participation and persistence in high quality STEM programming will lead to development of 21st century workplace skills.|
|10||Students’ increase in academic motivation will lead to increase in academic performance.|
|11||Students’ increase in STEM interest and identity and increase in academic performance will lead to participation in advanced STEM learning experiences.|
|12a||Students’ development of 21st century workplace skills and participation in advanced STEM learning experiences will lead to students’ taking enriched STEM courses in high school.|
|12b||Students’ development of 21st century workplace skills and participation in advanced STEM learning experiences will lead to students’ graduating from high school on time and in high standing.|
|12c||Students’ graduating from high school on time and in high standing will lead to students’ completing post-secondary school certificate program, 2-year community college, and/or 4-year college).|
|12d||Students’ completing post-secondary school will lead to youth entering the 21st century workforce in STEM and STEM-related careers.|
|12e||Youth entering the 21st century workforce in STEM and STEM-related careers will lead to economic prosperity for the youth and family.|
We are working to understand the current literature on poverty, equity of education, and effective management of non-profits, to identify any credible research associated with each of these hypotheses. To learn more about our evidence and outcomes, click here.