I am here to provide a perspective on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education from the business community.

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1 Remarks As Prepared Chris Crane, President & Chief Executive Officer, Exelon Corporation Chicago Urban League Stem Education Summit: STEMing the Barriers to Opportunity Chicago, Ill. May 7, 2013 I am here to provide a perspective on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education from the business community. I want to open with a series of facts and statistics that, as an employer as well as a citizen, I find frightening: The state of STEM education in this country is not good. In 2000, the U.S. ranked 20 th out of 24 countries in the percentage of 24 year-olds who had earned a degree in science or engineering. o Only 6% of our 24 year-olds held that degree. In the U.S., 6% of bachelor degrees are in science or engineering vs. 12% in Europe, and 70% in Korea. While the U.S. invests more in education than almost any other developed nation. o American students rank in the middle of the pack in reading and at the bottom in math and science. Non-US citizens, particularly from India and China, have accounted for nearly all growth in STEM doctorate degrees in recent years. o In some engineering fields, they are the majority of PhD degrees awarded. STEM with respect to minorities is even worse. There is a large achievement gap among U.S. students of different socio-economic backgrounds. Minority groups comprise only ~9% of the nation s college-educated science and engineering workforce. Only 2.7% of African-Americans who are 24 years old have a degree in science or engineering. It gets even worse the further along the educational path you go a progressive loss of representation as we go up the STEM ladder. In 2007, minorities represented: 39% of K-12 public school enrollment 33% of U.S. college-age population 1

2 26% of total undergraduate enrollment 18% of those earning science & engineering bachelors degrees 14% of STEM masters degrees only 5.4% STEM doctorates We have known all this for quite a while, and it hasn t gotten meaningfully better. According to a recent report from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, the negative gap in achievement between African Americans and all other groups has steadily increased over the last two decades in Chicago public schools. This is an unsustainable picture for all of us the U.S. economy, the ability of the U.S. to compete globally, the Chicago business community and of course, minority youth looking for good jobs. The education challenge has reached crisis proportions in Chicago especially for minorities. Chicago Public Schools is the 3 rd largest school district in the country, with over 400,000 students. Only 8 percent of all students who start at a Chicago public high school will graduate from college by their mid-twenties. o African-American and Latino male freshmen have only about a 3% chance of obtaining a bachelor s degree by the time they are 25. Minorities are seriously underrepresented in science and engineering yet they are the fastest growing segment of the population. o Critical challenge in filling jobs According to the National Science Foundation, there is a gap today of about 50,000 job opportunities in computer science compared to the number of degrees being awarded more jobs than qualified candidates. o A White House study says there will be 8.5 million STEM job openings over the next decade, with a shortage of 1 million STEM graduates to fill those jobs. Workforce diversity is a key asset for employers. Increasing the size of the STEM minority talent pool means more innovation, more choices, and better business connections to our customers and communities. STEM-related jobs are projected to grow faster than any other sector of the economy. That growth rate means not just an opportunity for improving diversity but an absolute requirement that we draw on new sources of talent to be able to fill our jobs. The National Academies Report on Underrepresented Minority Participation in Science and Technology, published in 2010, makes clear that we must define the issue and attack the problem on a wide range of fronts. It identified issues specific to minority students focused on 1) preparation, 2) access and motivation, 3) financial aid, and 4) academic and social support. 2

3 Preparation Education beginning at pre-school through high school, is required for later success. We all know that. We have a history of major (and contentious) interventions in the educational process. But we still face the same issues: failing schools, problematic distribution of educational resources, persistent achievement gaps while confronted with an increasing demand for skilled and educated workers. Although we argue about teacher pay, school choice, testing, etc. we don t argue about the key issue, the urgency of the problem. We cannot get distracted from the single-minded focus on fixing it. Access and Motivation Kids need to know what their options and opportunities can be. We must show them they have a chance. We must raise awareness of STEM careers for students throughout K-12 o Includes better counseling in science and math o Discuss other activities that promote the real potential of STEM careers for minority students We must rebuild the social and family expectation the motivation that stretches across generations, for a good education, a good-paying job, and a progressively better standard of living. Right now, too many parents have to focus on keeping their kids safe, not on their longterm career opportunities. In today s and tomorrow s economy that path is STEM. It includes strong, job-focused technical programs as well as more traditional academics. Affordability Affordability of college is a key issue and adequate financial support is directly correlated with class attendance and persistence in finishing college. Kids must avoid the crushing burden of college debt. There have to be resources to do that. Academic and Social Support Research finds that minority students face barriers to finishing a degree. Not just financing But also the culture of the academic institution and the diversity (or lack thereof) of the faculty. Academic and social support throughout high school and college is critical and currently not good enough. Support and network groups are critical. So what do we do? The schools, government at every level, non-profits, community groups and businesses can and must play a role in each of these critical dimensions: preparation, access and motivation, affordability, and academic and social support. 3

4 From pre-school to post-grad jobs A sustained, long-term focus to resolve a long-term problem A multi-dimensional response to address all the causes and contributors I ll speak to the accountability of employers which is the responsibility I own. Business can t step aside and expect schools and government to fix this. We have a real bottom line, dollars & cents interest in solutions. Business the customer of the STEM education pipeline has to own this. Many major employers are also involved. Motorola Solutions, Boeing, Microsoft and others have STEM related initiatives here in the city. Some are working with Mayor Emanuel and CPS on STEM programs. Exelon is also actively involved. In 2008, Exelon helped create (along with 18 partners in business, education and community), the Aurora University STEM Partnership School. It has programs for both students and teachers to strengthen science and math education in elementary and middle schools. Exelon funds STEM scholarship programs through Big Shoulders Fund including: STEM educational opportunities and support for low-income minority students in Chicago (grades 7 12) Scholarships, project learning experiences, Saturday and summer programs, mentors and tutoring Big Shoulders-funded schools have a terrific track record: students are 61% low-income, 80% minority. o By 7 th grade, average test scores are at or above average. o 85% enroll in college. Stay-in-School a very successful program by Exelon, ComEd and the United Way supports atrisk high school students through intense volunteer time, mentoring, and internships. Stay-in-School kids have a 92% high school graduation rate, compared to a 62% overall CPS graduation rate. 76% go on to post-secondary education. Since the program s inception, it s served more than 15,000 students. In addition to our ongoing support of the Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy charter school on the West side: We fund college scholarships for its graduates. And are seeing strong college persistence results so far. Some students from Rowe-Clark are here with us today. We support a summer institute at IIT: A preparatory boot camp for incoming minority and low-income students who need extra academic and social support for the transition to college. 4

5 Faculty, upper-class students and incoming students work together to make those transitions easier. Altogether, Exelon commits nearly $6 million annually in philanthropic educational programs mostly STEM-related. But not including countless employee volunteer hours. We also deliver on the promise through hiring. We have selected partner colleges and universities where we recruit intensively and support faculty. o Schools are selected on the basis of diversity of enrollment, academics, and proximity to Exelon. We have a wide-ranging college intern program, hiring 330 individuals a year in largely engineering and technical fields. Exelon Nuclear for example: 110 interns every year, with high conversion rate from intern to full time. Our new graduate engineering hires are over 50% diverse populations. We have to work harder with technical educational programs. o Occupations with excellent pay, progressive advancement opportunities, and nearly recession-proof reactor operator for example are going begging for minority candidates. o Needs more outreach on our part. In closing We are working at it, but we can all do more. The challenge is immense. We simply have to solve it. 5

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