The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
The time to plant a seed is now. Slalom sees the importance of planting seeds in their community early and often. We continue to hear research highlighting the growing gap of STEM talent. We see the number of unfilled positions continue to grow year after year. In 2010, just 5.4 STEM jobs were posted online for every one unemployed STEM worker. In 2016, STEM employers faced a dire picture: 13 STEM jobs were posted online for each unemployed worker—or roughly 3 million more jobs than the number of available, trained professionals who could potentially fill them (New American Economy Research Fund, 2016). David Harrow, Community Engagement Lead at Slalom, emphasized we need to start investing at the elementary school level, “The [STEM] gap is so large that we can’t just focus on the next 3-5 years. Rather, we need to focus on the next 10-15 years. Not doing so would be short-sighted.”
From the first time Slalom visited The BiOME, they saw a different approach: every student was engaged. David enthusiastically explained that “The students weren’t just learning math, but they were learning a project-based approach. It allowed every student learn in their own way.” For many who tour The BiOME, it is this rigorous, hands-on approach that they find refreshing. Many are inspired to see just how willing and excited students are to learn. Stefanie Thelen, General Manager of Slalom St. Louis, was so inspired by the BiOME school and its ability to engage, build curiosity and critical thinking skills, she has directed Slalom to be a BiOME school champion.
Since the beginning of the school year, Slalom has taken an active role and become valued members of our school community. From joining us monthly at our Literacy Mornings and reading with our learners, to supporting our annual gala as a Diamond level sponsor, to creating and leading new afterschool programs, Slalom has enthusiastically responded to every opportunity by saying, “yes, count us in!”
Slalom’s community engagement mission is “to help make St. Louis into a city in which every person loves their work and life.” Slalom believes the rising tide raises us all. This mission fits seamlessly with The BiOME’s approach to education. The future of our community depends on how we prepare our children. Slalom’s support of The BiOME is centered on the belief that in order to create future STEM talent, we need to plant the seeds now. Educating our children is a shared responsibility between our schools, community, and businesses. We need to partner and widen our lenses as we prepare for the future.