2022 Grants Challenge

STEAM Programs and 21st Century Education and Career Pathways

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica’s STEAM and 21st Century Education and Career Pathways programming provides an interactive, hands-on approach to STEAM and 21st Century Education and Career Pathways. We offer activities, programs, and exploration in science, math, nature, energy and conversation, technology, the arts, makerspaces, tinkering, and college and workforce exploration.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

West LA

County of Los Angeles

Other:: Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles Mar Vista Gardens affordable housing complex; and in Santa Monica

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

STEAM fields lack diversity, and people of color and women continue to be underrepresented in the workforce. Boys & Girls Clubs of America reports a shortage of interested and adequately prepared K-12 students in STEAM subjects, especially among minority youth and young women. Yet, STEAM jobs in the U.S. are growing nearly twice as fast as other fields. Many of our Club members are economically disadvantaged who benefit from resources and opportunity to close the equity gap and break the cycle of poverty. Specific populations we target are youth who attend our Club site located at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles affordable housing complex in Mar Vista Gardens (MVG) and lower income populations in Santa Monica. Our demographics are mostly Latino (48%) and African American (21%). 100% or our MVG youth are low-income, more than 50% are from single-parent households, and many are from immigrant families. 79% of our MVG youth are Hispanic, and 18% are African American.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Research has shown that the out-of-school-time (OST) environment advances STEAM knowledge and increases interest in STEAM-related careers. OST providers have an opportunity to help close the gap that prevents under-resourced youth from reaching their potential in fast-growing STEAM fields. Our STEAM and 21st Century Education and Career Pathways activities include exploring science, math, nature, energy, conservation, technology, the arts, and college and workforce exploration in STEAM and 21st Century careers. Our technology programming includes coding, robotics, drones, music production, 3D printing, laser cutting, virtual reality, video game design, visual and performing arts, fashion, photography, and multimedia programs that expand the 21st Century learner's horizons. STEAM partnerships help enhance our programming to meet our youths' needs. We offer a Tech Center that provides a creative, innovative learning environment that allows kids to explore thought, discover, and build the necessary skills to prepare for STEAM and 21st Century careers. Through our suite of offerings, our youth will: Develop interest, confidence, and knowledge in STEAM, increasing likelihood of completing a post-secondary degree or certification in STEAM-related fields. Have tools/resources to be prepared for STEAM and 21st Century careers. Develop workforce readiness skills be ready for employment in STEAM and 21st Century careers and increase the likelihood of obtaining thriving wages.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica serves youth from 128 zip codes throughout Los Angeles County and targets economically disadvantaged youth. An investment from LA2050 will help advance Los Angeles County's youth readiness in STEAM fields and 21st Century Careers to prepare them for employment success and thriving wages. Not every child has the same opportunity, and our programs help foster opportunity and income equality for generations. We are committed to preparing our current and future Club members for careers that will positively impact our members, their families, and their communities. Our vision also includes continually enhancing our STEAM and technology offerings and engaging in partnerships with subject matter experts. We are continuously looking to strengthen our programs with enhancements to keep kids engaged and develop attainable skills and competencies needed for STEAM and 21st Century career paths.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

To measure impact, we utilize the annual Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) National Youth Outcomes Initiative survey (NYOI) that provides critical data that informs us how Club youth are doing within key indicators. The 2020 BGCA NYOI data indicates that members are interested in STEM. 71% of Club members report getting excited about science, and 82% are curious to learn more about science, computers, or technology. We also use pre- and post-surveys and track program participation. We use the research-validated David P. Weikart Center's Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) tool in our staff development. The YPQI's assessment and feedback system allows youth development leaders to identify strengths, improve, and more deeply engage youth to impart skills, and build connections, confidence, and resiliency. Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica is responsive to our youths' interests and needs. We focus on creating and providing entry points to high-quality STEAM experiences.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 450

Indirect Impact: 5,500