The Kuma Foundation was founded in 2018 as a 501(c)3, non-profit, to drive global prosperity by removing the barriers to entry to, and increasing the number of, school- aged children in STEAM disciplines. Specifically, we provide free STEAM enrichment, STEAM career exploration, mentoring, and internships to underrepresented students in elementary, intermediate, and high school.
By 2025, the United States will have a 3.5 million STEAM jobs shortfall, with more than 2 million openings going unfilled because of the lack of highly skilled candidates. Additionally, 73 percent of manufacturing firms, and 65 percent of those in the information technology, accounting, finance, and insurance fields listed skill shortages as one of their top challenges.
The lack of qualified STEAM professionals means crucial research and development that pushes the frontiers of innovation is waning. In fact, the U.S. currently ranks sixth among 40 countries, based on 16 indicators of innovation and competitiveness, including venture capital investment, scientific research, spending on research, and educational achievement. Simply put, the competitive edge of the US economy has eroded sharply over the last decade.
Second, we believe that empowering low-income and underrepresented kids with STEAM skills and aspirations can be a critical tool in breaking the cycle of generational poverty.
STEAM careers are among the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in America, and in the next decade, nearly 80 percent of all new jobs created nationwide will require STEAM skills. In addition, a 2018 report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that STEAM fields have the four highest average starting salaries by Bachelor’s degree discipline.