The Challenge

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that we will need 2.4 million new scientists and engineers by 2020 as we shift from a labor-intensive to a knowledge economy. Science and technology driven companies are experiencing human capital supply shortages as they are unable to find and retain the talent they need to accelerate innovation and maintain competitiveness. Simultaneously, leading and emerging economies of the world are suffering from a skills shortage that is creating global inefficiencies and an inability to accelerate the innovation necessary to confront urgent global problems such as climate change, poverty reduction, disease, and sustainability. 

Project Aims

The New York Academy of Sciences’ innovation platform, Launchpad, seeks to address this issue by engaging untapped pools of talent in developing both technical and 21st-century skills alongside industry-leading companies. Through this collaborative partnership, Launchpad has been working since 2015 to build a future workforce that is diverse, experienced, and ready to solve global challenges.

Predicted Outcomes

Build Experience and Knowledge 
Our young workforce is eager to build skills through real-world experiences. As technological innovation alters the skills required for success in this emerging landscape, it is crucial that access, education, and training be readily available. Launchpad provides solvers with a place to refine their science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills while applying these skills to issues of social importance. 

Connect with Mentors 
Launchpad engages a diverse group of STEM professionals as experts and mentors who work alongside solvers to guide the development of their solutions. These mentors and experts serve as role models and connect users with resources and opportunities in STEM. Through this type of mentorship, Launchpad works to stop the leaks in the STEM pipeline and gives young innovators access to top professionals in their chosen field. 

Develop 21st-Century Skills 
As the nature of work changes, many industry-leading companies are finding it difficult to identify talent with both the hard and soft skills necessary to be successful. Launchpad allows users to develop 21st-century skills like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, leadership, and global citizenship.

Diversify the STEM Pipeline 
Launchpad engages untapped pools of talent in tangible STEM and 21st-century skills development. The platform currently engages thousands of exceptional students and solvers from over 85 countries in developing collaborative solutions to global challenges. 60% of our users are women and girls, and 25% come from homes with household incomes below $25,000 USD. 

Solve Global Problems 
Launchpad connects a diverse community of students, mentors, and companies to global issues in a meaningful way. Solvers work together through a research and design process that is guided by input from experts and thought leaders. These solutions are then reviewed by industry-leading companies with the power to advance and apply them. 
 

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