It was part of a much larger initiative from the “Educate to Innovate” campaign that has over $1 billion in financial and in-kind support for STEM programs. The administration’s attention on makers and making is part of the national movement kicked off by Make magazine and its founder Dale Dougherty.
Despite a desire for there to be more commitment, financial and otherwise, to supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the USA, there is actually quite a bit. You can read the full White House factsheet here – filled with 10-plus pages of STEM goodness.
The White House Office of Science and Technology has within it a team of makers, which is quite inspiring.
President Obama is arguably our most STEM-focused president. Six years ago, he made history by hosting the first-ever White House Science Fair. In April, he hosted the 6th and final one of his administration.
The National Week of Making will coincide with the National Maker Faire on June 18-19 in Washington, D.C., that features makers from across the country and will include participation of numerous Federal Agencies such as the Department of Education, Small Business Administration, Department of Commerce, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, to name just a few.
Making is not technically under the Department of Education and potentially not considered STEM by some purists, but I would argue that it is completely enabling STEM/STEAM growth.
Why all the focus on STEM? It is about current and future job needs from a high-level government perspective, about being competitive as a nation.
The U.S. Department of Education has a recent and important chart that shows projected STEM Job increases from 2010 to 2020. All occupations is the lowest bar at 14 percent. Mathematics jobs 16 percent is the next higher bar, climbing to 62 percent for biomedical engineers. You can check it out here.