STEM and Skilled Trades

At 3M, we know STEM and skilled trades careers can help families advance economically. That’s why we’re committed to supporting young people interested in the field—especially those from historically underrepresented groups. We’ve pledged to, through 2025, create 5 million STEM and skilled trades learning experiences designed to inspire curiosity, improve educational outcomes and provide transformational opportunities for underrepresented individuals.


Graphic representing 5 million STEM learning experiences for underrepresented individuals goal.


Using the impact framework from the London Benchmarking Group, we are working to achieve this goal by investing in organizations and/or initiatives in that inspire interest in STEM and skilled trades, improve academic outcomes in these areas and provide transformational opportunities:



Increase interest in STEM and skilled trades as a result of participation

The STEM Works For Me campaign developed by DoSomething in partnership with 3M educates students from underrepresented backgrounds to learn more about STEM careers, challenge their understanding of the industry and leverage their interests to inspire participation.

Broaden understanding and knowledge of STEM concepts, STEM and skilled trades careers and improve academic outcomes

3M partners with FIRST® to help young people discover and develop a passion for STEM through team sponsorship and with the support of 3M volunteers, FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST® Robotics Competition teams.

Lead to a direct positive and enduring change in an individual's circumstances (degree, certification, internship, etc.)

The UNCF 3M Science. Applied to Life. Scholarship Program provides need-based scholarship support to underrepresented high school seniors in St. Paul, MN and the surrounding area who are interested in pursuing a STEM degree or college freshman already enrolled in a STEM degree program. Click here to learn more about scholarship eligibility and submit an application.


We also invest in organizations and programs that improve academic outcomes and provide transformational opportunities for the next generation’s scientists and engineers. With the help of these investments, notably including our $50 million investment, more individuals from underrepresented groups are able to enter the high paying STEM and skilled trades fields, allowing them to build sustainable economic wealth.

Graphic representing $50M commitment with text: Fifty million dollars invested to address racial opportunity gaps int he U.S. through workforce development and STEM education initiatives by 2025.

It’s also crucial that we measure the impact of these investments. To do so, as well as to inform future investments, we worked with Ecotone Analytics to capture our social return on investment (SROI) using data from evidence-based research. Through this analysis, we know that every $1 we invest in our community generates nearly $3 worth of social impact — exceeding our initial internal target of $2.50 return for every dollar invested. This amplifies our estimated impact from $12 million invested to a projected $35 million in social value returns (increased wages, additional taxes paid, avoided justice system costs, etc.).


3M Manufacturing and Academic Partnership

The 3M Manufacturing and Academic Partnerships program, or MAP, was created as 3M began to see a concerning trend at some of its plants: as the older workforce began to retire at a higher rate, there weren’t enough young, skilled trade workers to fill those vacancies.

It’s an industry-wide challenge across the U.S.: There is a significant shortage of skilled trade workers primed and ready to fill roles that are increasingly vacated by retirements, and it’s something 3M hopes to help change. 3M’s MAP program is working to connect students to careers in manufacturing through partnerships with local high schools and community colleges. 3M provides grants that support a robust mechatronics curriculum, provides hands-on education for students and allows access to 3M employees as guest speakers. Click here to learn more about how 3M supports skilled trades professions.

Science Encouragement Programs

Our mission is to inspire interest in STEM and help students take steps toward STEM careers. Through our Science Encouragement Programs, we pique curiosity with demonstrations and visits, and we nourish that curiosity in programs for older students and educators.

Visiting Wizards

3M Visiting Wizards encourage young people’s interest in STEM by bringing fun science demos and hands-on experiments straight to their classrooms. These simple experiments show how 3M science can impact everyday life.

3M Visiting Wizard demonstrations cover a wide range of topics such as air and vacuum, wind energy and cryogenics. Availability of demonstrations varies by location.

Click here to request a 3M Visiting Wizard

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