Global Solar Center Joins Change the Equation to Solve America’s Innovation Problem

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Global Solar Center announced today that it has joined Change the Equation (CTEq), a CEO-led initiative to cultivate widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). CTEq will not only achieve the President’s Educate to Innovate campaign mission to increase private and philanthropic involvement in STEM education, but also will meet a critical need for a workforce and a citizenry fluent in science and math.

"Our collaboration will not only help students prepare for a future dominated by clean technology companies, but will also serve to fuel our competitiveness, and ultimately empower our nation.” - Jack Hidary

Change the Equation is bringing together top companies like Global Solar Center across multiple sectors, all of which are dedicated to preparing students for STEM-related careers as an investment in their business, the economy and our democracy. Through innovative and effective company-led programs, Global Solar Center and CTEq aim to fill the opportunity gap with capable and enthusiastic STEM-literate young people. It is the first and only STEM education group that brings so many corporate leaders together in collaboration with the White House, State Houses nationwide, and the foundation community. Global Solar Center joins Board members Time Warner Cable, Sally Ride Science, Kodak, Intel, Xerox and ExxonMobil.

“Encouraging STEM education has been a major goal for our company,” said Jack Hidary, Global Solar Center’s Chairman. “STEM education is a priority for promoting economic growth. Our collaboration will not only help students prepare for a future dominated by clean technology companies, but will also serve to fuel our competitiveness, and ultimately empower our nation.”

Global Solar Center’s Managing Director, Michael Hidary, adds: “STEM education and knowledge is truly one of the best options that we have available to keep pace with the rapidly evolving economic landscape. Ensuring that students have all of the resources that they need to excel will enable them to become active players in the clean tech sector.”

According to a report by the Center on Education and the Workforce, there will be eight million jobs available in STEM-related fields by 2018, and Global Solar Center predicts that the renewable energy industry will require close to 2.5 million jobs in its sector alone. However, the report also finds that the next generation of employees in America will be unprepared to take advantage of these positions.

America’s problem with math—which is the entry point into science, technology and engineering—is not solely rooted in academic skill. It may be indicative of a deeper cultural norm. According to a recent survey commissioned by CTEq, nearly three in ten adults believe they are not good at math. The problem is especially acute in younger Americans. More than half of Americans aged 18 to 36 admit that they often find themselves saying they can’t do math. Americans’ attitudes toward math were so negative that thirty percent would prefer cleaning the bathroom to doing a math problem.

“‘I can’t do math’ has become an iconic excuse in our society,” said Linda Rosen, Chief Executive Officer of CTEq. “Many Americans have expressed it, but I don’t believe it’s an accurate reflection of who we are, or, more importantly, what we can do.”

Rosen continued, “If we don’t encourage our children and students to get excited about math as well as science, technology and engineering, we are denying them the chance to reach their potential, and be prepared for a future filled with opportunity.”

Rosen announced that CTEq will establish a set of criteria that guides the organization and its member companies in defining program success. “It has been said that conscience is a person’s compass,” Rosen said. “CTEq can and will fire the nation’s conscience on STEM education. We will monitor our own progress and the progress of others, identifying what is working and what isn’t. CTEq will apply the lessons we learn so that the nation continues to move towards a future where every American is literate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

CTEq has an ambitious agenda for its first year, including creating a snapshot of existing STEM investments by its 100 member companies to establish a baseline of STEM programs. Global Solar Center will develop its STEM initiative with a focus on renewable energy.

CTEq also will create a self-evaluation mechanism for member companies to measure the effectiveness of their STEM programs. It will also launch an ambitious plan to initiate a core set of very effective programs in 100 new sites across the country to broaden the philanthropic reach of CTEq members and to create a state-by-state scorecard that can assess the condition of STEM education in all 50 states.

CTEq evolved as a result of the first Educate to Innovate Event in November 2009, when President Obama named five leading business and thought leaders (Sally Ride, Craig Barrett, Ursula Burns, Glen Britt, and Antonio Perez) to head an effort to improve American student participation and performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Carnegie Corporation of New York and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation generously provided challenge grants to launch the organization.

About Global Solar Center
Solar technology is not new, but managing the right type of technology and the right professional for the installation can be a difficult process. At Global Solar Center, we address this issue by educating people on the costs, the best technologies for their property, and working with the most qualified installation partners to make pursuing solar as seamless as possible.

About Change the Equation
Change the Equation (CTEq) is a non-profit organization whose 100 member companies from across industry sectors are dedicated to promoting innovation and investment in STEM teaching and learning. CTEq aims to give STEM education a central place in the national lexicon of excellence and achievement, establishing a national movement to support, promote, and implement excellent STEM education for every child.

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Andrew Chabot
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