NAPE understands that engaging leadership is essential for successful and lasting INSTITUTIONAL change. NAPE and its partners use a five-step Program Improvement Process for Equity™ (PIPE; formerly the Five-Step Improvement Process) that is based on practical yet rigorous methods and tools to guide state and local efforts to improve access, equity, and diversity in nontraditional occupations and STEM fields.
Through a 5-step process—Organize, Explore, Discover, Select, and Act—PIPE engages teams of administrators, teachers, and counselors in conducting a student data–based performance gap analysis, identifying root causes for the gaps, and developing an action plan based on research-based strategies proven to close the identified gaps. To date, NAPE has implemented PIPE in the following projects in 12 states:
- STEM Equity Pipeline—National
- STEM Equity Pipeline—U46 School District, Illinois
- Careers Never Imagined—Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania
- Nontraditional Programs of Study—Chester County Intermediate Unit, Pennsylvania
When implemented with the specific objective of increasing the access and success of underrepresented groups in STEM, such as in the STEM Equity Pipeline, PIPE is referred to as PIPE-STEM. In interviews conducted by independent evaluators, PIPE-STEM site participants identified five significant benefits:
- understanding and using data;
- increased awareness of and commitment to STEM equity issues;
- new partnerships created;
- increase in female and other underrepresented groups participation and retention in STEM-related programs of study; and
- project sustainability and expansion.
Additionally, site participants have reported an increase in female participation rates. Examples include the following:
- increases of females enrolled in Project Lead The Way from 8 to 30 girls at one site, and from 0 to 11 out of 46 senior students (23.9%) and from 0 to 10 out of 30 (33.3%) junior students at another site;
- increase in girls participating in a STEM summer camp from 3 to more than 20;
- increase in females participating in auto technology from 7 (12%) to 21 (36%);
- increase in women in electronics and telecommunications from 12 (7%) to 21 (12%); and
- increase of senior girls in advanced level math from 15% to 55% in 2 years.
Learn more about PIPE-STEM.