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.
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
Broaden understanding and knowledge of STEM concepts, STEM and skilled trades careers and improve academic outcomes
Lead to a direct positive and enduring change in an individual's circumstances (degree, certification, internship, etc.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
3M volunteers from a variety of technical job positions, degree levels and backgrounds describe the route they took to their current position. These talks take the mystery out of STEM careers and turn curiosity into opportunity.
TWIST brings middle and high school math, science and technology teachers together for six weeks during the summer to work on 3M research projects. This allows educators to expand their tool set, solve real-life problems and have ready answers for students who want to know about practical applications for their school curricula.
STEP shows high school juniors and seniors the ropes in applied science. Today's students want the opportunity to help solve important problems. In STEP, we make science accessible, so they have those opportunities down the line.