Policy

Our Core Principles:

  • All young people deserve access to high-quality afterschool STEM programs.
  • High-quality afterschool STEM programs are a good investment for young people, families, communities, and our nation.
  • High-quality afterschool STEM learning centers equity and the lived experiences of young people.

Our Policy Priorities:

Check out the details of our Core Principles & Policy Priorities! Our Core Principles help guide our advocacy and the Policy Priorities provide a foundational strategy for our annual policy asks in support of investments in quality afterschool STEM programs for all youth. The list below highlights our key priorities.

Increase Access to High-Quality Afterschool STEM Programs for Every Student

  • Increase funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant program, encourage the consistent use of a STEM priority across all states’ 21st CCLC competitions and provide weighted resources to historically marginalized populations.
  • Continue to grow investments in and work to create a sustainable funding strategy for programs and providers foundational to providing STEM education outside of the school day.
  • Prioritize STEM-based training and workforce opportunities for older youth through programs such as Perkins CTE and Department of Labor funding streams such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Facilitate High-Quality Programming through Partnerships and Professional Development

  • Ensure that afterschool, summer, and other out-of-school time learning programs are treated as equal partners in federal STEM education funding streams and policies that aim to improve STEM education, including career and technical education, internships, and apprenticeships that can address local workforce needs.
  • Incentivize collaborations and partnerships in grants for STEM-rich organizations to coordinate with afterschool STEM programs to both increase quality and provide opportunities for older youth who might benefit from STEM-based apprenticeship programs.
  • Integrate afterschool and other informal STEM educators into existing federally-funded professional development programs that support STEM teacher preparation and professional development to ensure high-quality content delivery.

Acknowledge & Highlight the Role of Afterschool STEM Programs

  • Use statutory and regulatory language that is more inclusive of afterschool programs.
  • Convene briefings, hearings, and support other activities to show the crucial role afterschool programs and providers play in inspiring and nurturing interest and success in STEM fields.
  • Expand research investments in informal STEM education to build and share knowledge about what works effectively in afterschool and other informal STEM education programs.


Stay Up-To-Date

The state of play is always changing--for the latest policy and advocacy updates, check out these newsletters, blogs, and websites:


Strong advocates are well informed about important policy conversations, understand how specific policies impact their missions, and have expertise and ideas for how policy can be best implemented. Whether you are looking to impact policy on the local, state, or federal level, the Afterschool STEM Hub aims to be a resource to help navigate that terrain.

For guidance on developing your own policies, here are some helpful Guideposts.

Need tools for advocacy?

Check out our Advocacy toolkit.

Need help talking with your elected representatives and candidates for office about the value of afterschool STEM?

Check out our Election Toolkit and Talking Points!