STEAMbassadors 3.0: Implementing and Studying the Integration of Paid Certifications into the STEAMbassador Placement Model

Project: Research project

Project Details


We seek to strengthen the existing STEAMbassadors citywide summer workforce initiative by creating a paid certification process to support mentors in deepening their STEAM skills by earning micro certifications that unlock opportunities for paid placements in parks, libraries, community colleges and schools leading youth from their communities in joyful STEAM activities. We are seeking funds to support the payment of stipends and the design and awarding of certification badges. Launched in 2020 as a near peer STEAM mentorship workforce program, the STEAMbassador initiative (STEAMbassadors 1.0) has filled a critical need by helping to develop and place Black and Latine college students as STEM near peers for youth from their home community and by working collaboratively with civic and community leaders to integrate resources (e.g., physical meeting spaces, funding, technology, etc) to address four major barriers to sustainable, high quality, STEAM programming in under-resourced communities: (1) the lack of a representative STEAM mentor workforce needed to motivate youth to discover their STEAM identities (i.e., mentors who have affinity with the youth with whom they work); (2) the lack of engaging STEM programming at the right level accessible via local civic institutions such as parks, libraries, and afterschool in schools; (3) the lack of culturally engaging STEAM learning experiences that offer activity kits for seamless implementation; and (4) the limited awareness of and perceived lack desire for organized STEAM learning activities in under-resourced communities. STEAMbassadors has engaged college-going 18-24 year-olds in discovering, strengthening, and sharing their developing STEAM passions and interests with youth from their communities. STEAMbassadors (i.e., STEAM mentors) are trained to implement a curated catalog of quality project-based STEM activities and are placed in familiar OST spaces (e.g., parks, libraries, schools) where elementary and middle school students typically spend their summers to lead STEAM programming designed to connect STEAM to everyday creative activities and community practices. Because the STEAMbassadors initiative is designed to enact a “from community, for community” model to address inequities and lack of educator (teachers and mentors) representation from underserved, underrepresented communities (Baldridge, 2019), priority placement is given to young adults who attend community colleges and live in our focal communities. This project addresses a critical need to train near-peer mentors to lead STEAM activities for youth in familiar community spaces by building the sociotechnical infrastructure necessary to provide more community-based sites in under-resourced areas access to rich STEAM content and trained STEAM mentors. PROJECT DESIGN: Infrastructuring a Regional Community STEAM Workforce Model Even with the success of SB 1.0 and the scaling of STEAMbassadors over its first three years (e.g., 40 to 165 trained mentors), the existing infrastructure is not sufficient to ensure STEAMvassadors are effectively trained and plac implementation of STEAMbassadors at a greater level of scale going forward. Streamline and support recruitment, training, placement, and advancement of mentors. ● Expand to provide online tools to support applications, certifications, placements, and career supports ● Create a yearlong calendar of mentor certification opportunities ● Embed framework of Learning Support Roles (LSR) into training and development as a required SB certification
Effective start/end date1/1/2312/31/23


  • Vivo Foundation (AGMT 12/9/22)


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