The Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective (PSEC) announced Monday morning that Mayor Jim Kenney had proclaimed the week of Oct. 30 as Philadelphia STEM Equity Week.
“Philadelphia is recognized as a hub for science and technology, and therefore must ensure that our STEM talent grows equitably and reflects the diversity of its citizens,” Kenney said in the proclamation. “Providing support to organizations and initiatives dedicated to building equity and increasing the sense of belonging for Black people, Latinx people and women is a critical step in this process.”
A City spokesperson confirmed that the proclamation will be presented by Philadelphia City Representative Sheila Hess at a PSEC event on Thursday.
PSEC was established by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline — which calls University City its US headquarters — and the Philadelphia Education Fund in 2020 to help Black, Latinx and women students pursue STEM careers. The collaborative is a $10 million, 10-year commitment made up of 550 people from schools, universities, companies, community groups and local government.
The organization consists of four workgroups, one of which is focused on “work environment.” Betsy Payne, member relations manager for PSEC, told Technical.ly this workgroup is mostly focused on recruiting, hiring and retention, but has also been discussing ways to spread the word about PSEC’s work.
The hope is that an official STEM Equity Week in Philadelphia will help PSEC get more people involved, and attract more recognition for the organization’s efforts, Payne said.
“Philadelphia is a hub for STEM positions of work, but we do not have the workforce to go with it. … We would like Philadelphians to be able to fill these jobs, not just people from elsewhere,” she said. “The idea is that if the city lets people know that this is happening, more people will reach out, and reach out to our collaborators.”
The organization wants to share its resources, including opportunities for internships, apprenticeships, scholarships, workforce development programs and a Philadelphia STEM directory that shares opportunities for K-12 students.
To commemorate the first Philadelphia STEM Equity Week, PSEC is hosting its first in-person members meeting on Thursday Nov. 2, where the group will share Mayor Kenney’s proclamation and other updates. They will also be joined by keynote speaker, Wilmington-born STEM Queen Jaqueline Means.
The organization is also running a social media campaign with its partners to recognize the work they’ve done so far and share STEM fun facts with the hashtags #PhillySTEMWeek and #PhillySTEMFacts.
Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
As #PhillySTEMWeek kicks off, we reflect on @GovernorShapiro's visit to the Science Center when he had an opportunity to tour our FirstHand lab where we deliver industry-relevant STEM curricula to middle and high school students. #PhillySTEMFact @CouncilmemberJG @thetifwilson pic.twitter.com/8oFZ07hix8
— Science Center (@UCScienceCenter) October 30, 2023
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