Kaiser Permanente recently announced its plan to support Washington STEM in a joint effort to provide more opportunities to underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

The two-year, $1.2 million partnership will help fund STEM programs in Washington schools, targeting skill development for students of color, girls and young women, and students from low-income and rural communities.

“We take pride in joining with Washington STEM to support direct efforts creating equal access to education pathways that will help more than half a million students prepare for the jobs of the future,” said Susan Mullaney, President of Kaiser Permanente Washington.  “A prescription for health includes access to education and career-track jobs, both of which are as critical to the health of a community as exercise, healthy eating, and staying active.”

Existing programs in schools across the state will expand, aiming at tangible, near-term impact. Approximately 16,000 more children between the ages of zero and eight will be served in early STEM education, and 500,000 students across local school districts will be exposed to high-demand career pathways. Six hundred additional early educators and family members will also be equipped to support early math learning — especially for children of color and children from low-income communities.

“Through our partnership with Kaiser Permanente, we’ll be able to accelerate and expand our impact across the state. Kaiser Permanente shares our belief that our health care and other fast-growing industries will be even more innovative when their workforces reflect the diversity of WA state,” said Caroline King, CEO of Washington STEM. “It starts with ensuring our earliest learners have fun with math and moves to supporting students year over year to be inspired and prepared to lead in the game-changing STEM careers of today and tomorrow.”