Some argue against the intrusion of big business into education. Critics left and right have what they consider good reason to fear the beginning of a “slippery slope” leading us toward disaster. President Obama seems to have no such fear as in his February 12, 2013 State of the Union Speech he asked for the creation of “manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Department of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.”
Energy giant Chevron is forging ahead with plans to assist educators of students who will become the tech sector's skilled STEM-educated employees. In the next three years Chevron intends to invest more than 30 million dollars in STEM learning in this country. Blair Blackwell, Chevron’s manager of education and corporate programs tries to alleviate the fear of big business intrusion by admitting that “We recognize we’re not education experts. We have to partner with the education experts, with officials on the ground.”
One of Chevron's goals is to provide funds that target programs aimed at including more girls in STEM programs. It hopes to finance more not-for-profits like Project Lead the Way (offering STEM courses for K-12). Some of the schools involved in this program believe that it is important to provide girls with a place where they “can feel comfortable participating and learning before putting them in a co-ed environment.” Toward that end, they offer girls-only STEM classes for the first year.
According to some experts, more girls in STEM programs means a better chance at narrowing the gender pay gap. Whereas in the general economy women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, in STEM related employment women bring home 91 cents. Not perfect, but a good start.