This past October, findings based on the US2020 initiative in Indianapolis were presented in Omaha, Nebraska, at the 2016 Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC), a 2-day conference drawing more than 500 attendees from across the country that features projects with a unified goal of building strong community partnerships.
Laura Green, one of TPF4Y's former AmeriCorps VISTA members who has continued her commitment to STEM education programming through her graduate work at IUPUI, now works as a research assistant for the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology. In this role, she is doing research on corporate volunteerism and STEM education, while also continuing to share her passion for these topics by recruiting college students to lead US2020 programs and tracking the impact of volunteer efforts.
Laura attended the pre-conference workshop called "Oh the Places We'll Go: Service Learning Partnerships in Practice," where she participated in discussions on how to create meaningful service learning partnerships between universities, K-12 schools, and the community. Then, during the ESC conference, Laura had applied, and was accepted, to make two presentations that were focused on: 1) lessons learned from the first two years of the US2020 program from both an industry and university perspective, and 2) the US2020 volunteer experience and its impact on the volunteers.
In order to give our local partners a recap of this enlightening research, we wanted to share some of the data highlights from Laura's presentations:
These are great statistics from US2020 volunteer feedback, but you might be wondering what it means for the bigger picture as TPF4Y continues to engage corporate partners with STEM volunteer opportunities. Luckily, Laura broke it down in her presentation to the basic components of success:
When companies promote US2020 volunteer opportunities,
an enjoyable volunteer experience for employees + perceptions of company support
= positive perceptions of the company by their employees,
which, in turn, leads to increased organizational commitment
In alignment with other research, these findings indicate that volunteers who enjoy their experience and feel supported by their company are likely to attribute their positive experience to their company, and thus, feel pride in, and a commitment to, working for their company.
In a nutshell, it's beneficial to companies to encourage volunteerism among their employees as it leads to increased employee happiness with their employer! TPF4Y is excited to support this trend by continuing to engage corporate partners with fun, hands-on STEM volunteer opportunities at our US2020 school and community center sites. If you, or your company, are interested in learning more, contact Maggie Cline at Maggie@TechPointYouth.org!