Engineers Canada and Engineers of Tomorrow are excited to share the progress and status of the ongoing K-12 collective impact project!

The formation of this collective impact project came as a result of recent research of engineering awareness in early education in the K-12 space. The report, “Where is the E in STEM?” identified several areas of opportunity.

Engineers Canada and Engineers of Tomorrow then worked with the Tamarack Institute on best practices to build a collective impact approach to advance the E in STEM and create meaningful, systemic change in the K-12 environment.

The idea behind a collective impact approach is to bring people together as peers, and provide the necessary context and data, to enable them to create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the community.

These engaged peers will coordinate together to achieve greater impact, collaborate on shared goals and decision-making, and integrate resources, planning, and programs to this effect.

"Engineers Canada is proud to serve as the backbone of this collaborative effort, bringing together diverse voices and expertise to drive change in engineering career awareness and education. Our partnership with Engineers of Tomorrow underscores our commitment to fostering inclusivity and innovation in the K-12 space. We encourage individuals and organizations to reach out, collaborate, and be part of this transformative journey shaping the future of early education in our communities," says Kim Bouffard, Manager Belonging and Engagement, Engineers Canada.

Engaged participants were invited to build this shared common agenda around the core goal of advancing engineering in STEM education at the K-12 level. These included Ontario Network of Women in Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, Let's Talk Science, Boys & Girls Club Canada, Engineers of Tomorrow, Halton District School Board, and Spin Master Ltd.

Through their work the collective impact project has created a coordinated approach to achieve these goals. The First is to build a common language and shared practice; second, to use shared measurements, and focus on a data-driven approach that includes quantitative and qualitative measurements; third, to remove barriers and provide equitable access to early engineering education; fourth, to nurture and create dynamic partnerships that cross-pollinate and advance the E in STEM; and finally to work across systems to create a common curriculum.

"At Engineers of Tomorrow, we're excited to be working alongside Engineers Canada and other subject matter experts in this systemic way to break down barriers and facilitate a unified approach. We're shaping a future where everyone understands more about the engineering profession and the power of engineering to unlock and shape positive societal change," says Rebecca White, CEO, Engineers of Tomorrow.

Some of the desired outcomes include an agreement of a common language and key messages, coordinated leadership across the systems, increasing diverse representation in engineering, providing a clear understanding about how engineering shapes everyday solutions, and more support for students to get into engineering programs. Funding for the initiative has generously been provided by the Leacross Foundation.

Engineers Canada and Engineers of Tomorrow will be presenting this work at the upcoming Ontario Network of Women in Engineering: Diversity through Inclusion, on November 14, to further refine the approach and inform next steps for the collective work. This will be the time for any interested parties to lend their voice and expertise to the collective impact project.

Engineers Canada has also submitted proposals to present at the upcoming Science & Technology Awareness Network (STAN) conference (February 2024) and the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT) conference (May 2024). We encourage individuals and organizations that operate in the K-12 environment to join the initiative and provide their expertise. We hope to hear from the community!