Inspiring the Next Generation of Sustainability Leaders through STEM Education
November 04, 2022
Trane Technologies’ partnership with Discovery Education shows how corporate citizenship and sustainability go hand in hand.
3 min read
Our commitment to sustainability is broad, spanning the environmental and social impact of our operations, as well as our products, services and people. And through Sustainable Futures, Trane Technologies' corporate citizenship strategy, we're demonstrating how creating a better planet for all and being a good corporate citizen go hand in hand.
Earlier this year, Trane Technologies partnered with edtech leader Discovery Education to launch a comprehensive multi-media STEM education initiative to inspire students—particularly those who tend to lack access robust STEM curriculum—to be sustainability champions and innovators.
The initiative breaks new ground in many ways. It educates and inspires students to be the next generation of sustainability leaders through custom videos and interactive tools and resources. It also seeks to empower and engage students from communities that are underrepresented in our industry by providing them fresh, relatable content that helps them understand and participate in sustainability today, right where they are.
According to 2020 U.S. Census data, in 2019, all minorities combined made up just 35% of the STEM workforce combined, compared to 39% of the total workforce. In addition, our industry is experiencing a skilled labor shortage as a generation of workers begins to retire without enough young people stepping up to replace them. HVAC technicians are especially in short supply.
And that’s also one of the aims of this initiative—to close these gaps, creating pathways for more diverse talent to access good-paying careers in our industry—and at the same time, ensuring a strong labor pipeline that will champion tomorrow’s sustainability efforts for our planet.
Discovery Education is well-known for providing teachers with rich digital resources to deepen the classroom experience, and we’re excited to collaborate on this unique learning experience for students in grades 5 through 10. The joint initiative features a new website that provides teachers with a rich suite of custom STEM tools for making sustainability a fun and relatable topic. Our tools also give students practical tips and exercises to get them and their families involved in the sustainability movement.
The hope, of course, is to entice young students into STEM and climate solutions studies and, ultimately, careers. With interactive tools and resources plus Trane Technologies employees volunteering in their classrooms, students are inspired and empowered to learn, think critically and solve the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, like climate change.
Since we know one of the best ways to help kids see new possibilities for themselves is to provide them with real-life examples, we made employee volunteerism a central component of this partnership. Along with resources for teachers, we developed equally robust tools and lesson plans that assist Trane Technologies employees in visiting local classrooms to lead rich and engaging sustainability lessons.
We know today’s learners need more than textbook lessons to ignite their imaginations. That’s why a core feature of our education initiative is a 26-minute virtual field trip video that transports students from their classrooms, allowing them to touch down on several Trane Technologies’ campuses around the U.S. for an up-close look at what climate innovation entails in our various businesses and how it impacts our planet.
The young adult hosts kick off the trip explaining what climate change is and how we got here; then students meet Trane Technologies leaders with varied skills and professions who share real-life examples of how bold thinking can spark leading-edge innovation.
The program’s resources are available to schools and educators in the U.S. now at sustainablefutures.discoveryeducation.com
“Innovation sprouts from courage and creativity in STEM,” said Beth Meyer, vice president of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “Our STEM Education Initiative with Trane Technologies helps inspire students to create real-world, sustainable solutions that make the world a better place, both in their own neighborhood and around the world. By connecting the dots between STEM and sustainability, educators can access critical resources to empower students with forward-thinking content that sets them up for future success.”
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