Germany-based Covestro, a high-performance plastic sheeting manufacturer, was recently honored with the 2016 STEM Mentoring Award for “Excellence in Corporate Culture” from US2020, a nonprofit that connects STEM mentors with youths.
STEM is a national educational push that emphasizes learning in science, technology, engineering and math.
The national award from US202 was in recognition of Covestro’s companywide i3 STEM program, which ignites young minds to become the innovators of tomorrow through hands-on science experiences and employee volunteerism. As a result of its award Covestro took part in a White House STEM Mentoring Symposium earlier in August.
The mission of US2020, launched at the 2013 White House Science Fair, is to change the trajectory of STEM education in America by dramatically increasing the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students, especially those students who have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.
More than 150 organizations participated in this year’s award series, and Covestro was one of six companies selected for the honor.
“We were thrilled to see the variety and quality of organizations and companies that submitted applications to the 2016 STEM Mentoring Awards,” says Nick Hutchinson, executive director of US2020. “Quality, skills-based mentorship is uniquely positioned to address the barriers to STEM access and achievement and has been shown to provide academic and emotional benefits for students, particularly at-risk youth.”
Covestro, which operated as Bayer MaterialScience until September 2015, has a 60-year history of strengthening STEM education and fostering a diverse STEM workforce pipeline in the U.S. The company is now pioneering a new approach to STEM mentoring and volunteering with skills-based volunteerism (SBV).
“We are truly honored to receive this award, which caps off a successful first year as a new company with a new name,” says Jerry MacCleary, president of Covestro LLC. “Our passion for STEM continues to be a fundamental part of our identity. This award not only highlights our commitment to advancing STEM education in communities nationwide, but it also reflects the dedication of our employee volunteers, who serve as mentors and role models to inspire the next generation of innovators.”
Approximately 260 employee-volunteers at six U.S. Covestro sites work with more than 100 K-12 schools by participating in classroom visits, career fairs, science nights, mentoring, Girls in STEM programs and other special events. They also have hosted or engaged in dozens of career fairs and conferences at universities. Through these activities, Covestro employees have impacted more than 40,000 students.
“SBV enables all of our employees to serve STEM education organizations in new and vital ways,” said Rebecca Lucore, Covestro’s head of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, North and South America. “For example, Covestro teams have developed a sustainability plan for a Smithsonian Institution affiliate museum, prepared STEM education programming for a world-class botanic garden, and solved a persistent accounting problem at a STEM education organization that couldn’t afford paid consultants.”
In addition, Covestro is creating and expanding local and national STEM education partnerships with greenlight for girls (g4g), American Chemical Society’s Project SEED, and the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead program, among others; sponsoring the Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair; and, supporting employees who volunteer with an official paid-time-off policy.