For awhile, there was an amazing program engaging retired STEM professionals in classrooms & out of school time STEM programming that was out of Northeastern University and the brainchild of Dr. Christos Zahopoulos (https://web.northeastern.edu/reseed/). For some time, they had funding. I haven’t seen anything since a year or two ago, so I’m suspicious that perhaps they had to scale way back or stop altogether if the funding stream ended. RE-SEED was very well designed and provided a lot of support to the volunteers in the form of training as well as curricula for activities. However, it did rely on retirees and was not designed to engage currently practicing professionals.
I took a look at the website from the STEM Ambassador program in the UK and am super impressed at its scope & depth. Even more impressed by the fact that it is government supported which, of course, provides them with the significant resources that would be required to pull something like that off in a large scale way over an extended period of time.
We have a very, very, very small and somewhat different platform available in New Mexico as part of the NM STEM-H Connection website. We host a People Database where STEM professionals and educators can create an account, list their expertise as well as areas in which they have interest in volunteering in any number of capacities, and is searchable so others can go in a look for a match (ex: a teacher looking for a classroom presentation…). The major drawbacks to the system are that folks have to register themselves, there’s no formal program (like the UK one has) for induction/preparation to serve, and we have absolutely no funding at the moment to do anything but keep the site hosted. To grow it and make it something closer to what the UK is doing, we would have to find funding to support the necessary infrastructure/human resources. Something similar to the STEM Ambassadors program is what my original “dream vision” was for that part of the website, but alas, we were not able to secure the level of funding necessary to accomplish the amount of development, coding, and program capacity building to make it what it could be.
If anyone’s interested in talking about how we might figure something like the UK system out in the US Southwest building on existing models already started but needing new life (!!) and you have thoughts about funding sources, I’d certainly be open to chatting further.