PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Ahead of Philadelphia's first-ever virtual start to the school year, several organizations- including The School District of Philadelphia, have come together for $10 million commitment to help advance education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
They formed the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective, to provide more STEM resources over the next 10 years for Black, Latinx and female public school students.
As the nation's eighth-largest STEM industry hub, Philly leaders see based on the 2019 Keystone exam results, the city's students are behind their Commonwealth peers in STEM literacy.
"The challenge in Philadelphia is that we have students who are attending a range of schools and they're all resourced at very different levels," said Farah Jimenez, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Education Fund. "STEM education particularly is a place where we may not have programming and support for students, through all four years of high school for example."
To solve this, GSK, a science-led global healthcare company will support in-school programming and community efforts through annual grants of $1 million for 10 years to local nonprofits.
"Not only giving the challenges around educational delivery that is happening around Philadelphia because of the pandemic but also because we've seen so many voices raised in the pursuit of justice around radical and gender inequality," said Becki Lynch GSK director of U.S. community partnerships. "And thinking through how we can help students, to find other ways for them to achieve their goals and get them support and mentorship. It'll be more important than ever."
Jimenez says this has been part of a long strategic plan to make sure all Philadelphia students have equitable access to college and career success.
"It's about aligning all of us in a way that helps our students try and make sense of what the current conditions are," said Jimenez. "And to reach for education as a pathway of trying to make sense of that world."