Bayer and the National 4-H Council amplified their commitment to the future of the rapidly expanding global population by launching a new effort to grow the pipeline of tomorrow’s innovators -- starting now.
The two organizations announced last week a nationwide collaboration called Science Matters that will address the need for an enhanced science, technology engineering and math (STEM) workforce by instilling a love of scientific exploration in thousands of youth in urban and rural areas across the country.
Science Matters will leverage more than 150 years of scientific breakthroughs from Bayer and a century of hands-on learning at 4-H to equip more than 25,000 youth with the tools and support they need to deepen their understanding of science.
“Advancing health and nutrition is what we do best and care about most at Bayer,” said Ray Kerins, Bayer senior vice president of corporate affairs. “We can’t do that unless we grow tomorrow’s innovators today and fill the critical pipeline of future STEM leaders — not only for agriculture, which is increasingly technologically driven, but for all STEM-related fields. Bayer sees this as a sacred responsibility, and we’re proud to work with 4-H, a first-class organization that shares this vision.”
Science Matters will bring together 4-H leaders with Bayer employees to work alongside young people to demonstrat why science matters to everyone. In addition, Bayer will sponsor the 4-H Agri-Science Summit in Washington, D.C., where students will learn about modern agriculture and careers in agriculture and can gain more than 30 hours of hands-on learning and problem-solving experience. Bayer will also provide as many as 200 scholarships and offer community grants to extend the program’s impact.
“In 4-H, we believe in the power of young people, and we are thrilled to join with a company like Bayer that also sees the potential when you equip youth with the skills and opportunities they need to be true leaders,” said Artis Stevens, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, National 4-H Council. “Science Matters will extend the reach of our hands-on STEM programming, which is proven to grow 4-Hers who are two times more likely than others to enter STEM careers.”
The world’s need for expertise in STEM has never been more intense than it is today, the organizations said. Many of the millions of STEM-related jobs generated in America alone go unfilled due to a lack of relevant graduates and skilled professionals — a scarcity acute in agriculture, which is not always considered the STEM-related field it has become, the announcement said.
Scientists who focus on plants, food and water, among other areas, are in demand as growers tackle some of the most complex challenges of our time: sustainably providing nutrition for a rapidly growing population in the face of a changing climate, dwindling natural resources and evolving pests and diseases.
“At Bayer, we believe in the power of science and its ability to positively impact the health of people, plants and animals, and we know that 4-H shares this belief with us,” Kerins said. “That’s why we’re excited to be on the ground floor of a wonderful relationship that will help develop a new generation of innovators who will address some of the most critical issues facing our society today.”
As the nation’s largest youth development organization, 4-H grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow, as its programs give nearly 6 million young people across the U.S. experiences that develop critical life skills. It is the youth development program of the Cooperative Extension System and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower 1 million youth in 50 countries.