Craig Barrett, former chairman and CEO of Intel, has been vocal over the past few years about the need to improve math and science education in the United States to ensure that the country continues to be competitive in the global economy.
Now he has the backing of the Obama administration, which on Nov. 23 announced a strategy to grow American students' interest and performance in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.
The initiative is a public-private effort that includes Barrett and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, and is partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Among the other founders are Glen Britt, chairman, president and CEO of Time Warner Cable; Antonio Perez, chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak; and Sally Ride, CEO of Sally Ride Science and the first American woman in space. Also helping with the funding is the Carnegie Corp.
The group is looking to build a coalition of businesses, philanthropists, educators, governors and the public to push for better STEM education, and will form an advisory board comprising business leaders.
"At Intel, we have seen what young people can do with math and science when they are inspired and well-taught," Barrett said in a statement. "It is up to all of us to stimulate that interest and provide teachers who can guide and nurture students in these critical subjects."
The non-profit organization will look to gather the necessary resources that will help drive math and science education. It also will look to take advantage of new technologies and social networks to bring teachers together with STEM professionals and help push STEM education and careers.
Businesses increasingly are looking for employees who are strong in the math and sciences, according to the group, which will put a greater onus on young people entering the work force to have these skills. Xerox's Burns said the time is right for this strategy.
"President Obama's initiative is not only the right thing for the young people of our country, but essential to maintaining America's leadership position in the global economy," she said in a statement.