Measuring progress. Inspiring action.

STEM in Minnesota

About the Project

STEM-literate workers are critical to Minnesota's knowledge-based workforce. Our continued advancement as a state requires workers with the ability to innovate, solve complex challenges, and flourish in an environment with rapidly changing technology.

Ensuring all students are equipped for our future workforce requires development of STEM skills and interest from the early years and along the continuum of learning through mid-career.

This project was developed to better understand the state of Minnesota's STEM continuum and to help target resources most effectively. Working with an advisory group, Minnesota Compass and Boston Scientific developed a cohesive framework for monitoring and supporting Minnesota's STEM cradle-to-career continuum to answer:

  • How does Minnesota fare on key measures of STEM success from PreK-mid career?
  • What are best practices for supporting these measures?
  • Are we making progress over time?

The site will be updated as new data and resources become available. Frequency for key measure updates depends on the data source.  In the future, key measures will be trended over time where possible to facilitate progress-monitoring. Check the “What’s New” page for the latest site updates.


The cradle-to-career framework was developed with the input of a large advisory committee of Minnesota STEM stakeholders. In spring 2013, stakeholders convened to provide input on the framework and key measures. Committee members reflected a variety of sectors, including early childhood, K-12, post-secondary, informal education, business, policy, research, foundations, metro, outstate, and other sectors. Advisory committee meetings were co-convened by cross-sector leadership. A smaller core advisory group met before and after each committee meeting to consider the feedback provided by the full advisory committee.

Logic model

Wilder Research developed a logic model for supporting Minnesota's STEM cradle-to-career continuum. The logic model was developed based on a literature review and informed by advisory committee input. The model describes important experiences, opportunities, and resources that contribute to developing and sustaining interest and proficiency in STEM. This theoretical framework underlies the key measures chosen and the visual of the STEM cradle-to-career continuum developed for this project.


All key measures tracked on Minnesota Compass meet established criteria. Criteria for the STEM topic area include the following:

Relevant and valid – relates to stated goals and measures what it is intended to measure.

Consistent over time – regularly collected the same way.

Leading – signals broader changes to come, allowing the community to respond proactively.

Actionable – outcomes that can be impacted by programs and policies and change the cradle-to-career trajectory.

Affordable – can be collected within project budget.

Understandable – easy for target audience to understand.

Comparable – allows for comparisons by different groups – race/ethnicity, income, gender.

Standardized – allows for comparison with other regions, metro areas, states, or countries.

Coherent – provides coherent picture of progression along the cradle-to-career continuum.

Minnesota Compass Regions

In addition to statewide data, STEM data is available by a variety of geographic levels. View a map of Minnesota Compass regions, and the counties within each region.


Many measures were suggested and considered as we developed this section of the Compass site. To assist advisors in considering STEM key measures, Wilder Research prepared a “Why/Why Not” document looking into the availability and feasibility of potential measures based on our criteria, as well as a list of “Data Needs” reflecting measures suggested by the committee for which an adequate data source was not identified at this time.

Your input is helpful to project partners. Minnesota Compass also works with a variety of funders, and Wilder Research offers a wide range of research services for those interested in funding additional research on these topics. Please contact Allison Liuzzi with suggestions or for additional information.



Advisory co-conveners
Paul Mattessich, Wilder Research
  Executive Director and Minnesota
  Compass Project Director
Marilee Grant, Boston Scientific
  Community Relations Director
Margaret Anderson Kelliher,
  Minnesota High Tech Association
  President and CEO
Rose Chu, School of
  Urban Education Interim Dean,
  Metropolitan State University
Doug Paulson,
  Minnesota Department of
  Education STEM Specialist

Core advisory group
Tim Barrett
  Minnesota High Tech Association
Ronald Bennett
  University of St. Thomas
Marilee Grant
  Boston Scientific
Craig Helmstetter
  Formerly of Minnesota Compass
Anne Hornickel
  Minnesota STEM Network
Caryn Mohr
  Wilder Research
Dan Mueller
  Wilder Research
Doug Paulson
  Minnesota Department of
Eva Scates-Winston
  Minnesota State Colleges and
Jessi Strinmoen
  Rochester Chamber of Commerce
Steven Walvig
  The Bakken Museum

Advisory committee
Complete list of advisory committee members