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Educating from Experience

“Educating from Experience” is a new mini-documentary from WorkingNation that follows California mom Erica Parker as she transitions from her successful career in engineering to become a STEM teacher at a local high school — a pathway made possible by EnCorps.

“EnCorps wants to provide a good math and science teacher for every single student in America,” says EnCorps STEM Teachers Program Founder Sherry Lansing. “No matter where you live, no matter whether you’re born into poverty or you’re born into wealth — you get that opportunity.”

In 2017, in California alone, there was a projected need of 33,000 qualified math and science teachers over the next decade. EnCorps recruits and prepares experienced engineers and technology professionals, among others, to teach in science, math, and related fields in underserved schools across California. After 11 years, EnCorps has recruited nearly 1,000 tutors, guest teachers, and full-time credentialed instructors.

“In the United States, we have been able to identify that we are going to be short 3.3 million employees in STEM-related fields,” says STEM teacher Eric Lee in the video. “We are trying to address this issue so that we can start hiring employees within the United States instead of having to farm out to other countries.”

WorkingNation’s filmmaking crew documented Erica’s journey with EnCorps to become a teacher at Corona High School, where she now makes a lasting impact in the lives of countless young people who learn the critical skills necessary to succeeding in STEM fields.

“It’s very difficult to find teachers that are properly qualified to teach STEM because a lot of them don’t have the industry experience,” says California’s Corona High School Assistant Principal Deena Rodriguez. “The EnCorps program bridges that gap between the industry sector and education.”

Erika Parker
EnCorps STEM Teaching Fellow – 2016 Cohort

Former Engineer
Engineering Teacher, Corona High School

Ryan Flores
EnCorps STEM Teaching Fellow – 2011 Cohort

Former Engineer
Engineering & Math Teacher, John Muir High School

photo credit: WorkingNation/Jonathan Barenboim

Organizational History

Inspired by her early work as a public school math teacher, former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing collaborated with Governor Schwarzenegger to launch EnCorps STEM Teachers Program in 2007 to address declining student achievement in STEM, as well as California’s critical teacher shortage by recruiting STEM professionals to begin teaching as a second career. EnCorps educators include former engineers from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, technology professionals and computer scientists from Silicon Valley, research scientists, military service members and medical specialists.

Early success led to our selection as one of only 28 organizations invited to join the national consortium 100Kin10, tasked with enriching America’s classrooms with 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021. We launched our Military Pathway in 2013 to harness the STEM expertise of armed forces veterans. Partnerships with Project Lead the Way and Linked Learning Alliance followed, as we expanded the board and added new staff members across the state.

EnCorps currently transitions STEM professionals to teaching as a second career in high needs schools in the urban areas of Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, Greater Sacramento, Greater San Diego and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, with demand to scale nationally. Eleven years into its mission, over 900 EnCorps tutors, guest teachers, and full-time credentialed instructors have served in more than 250 California schools and organizations, impacting over 90,000 students statewide.

EnCorps has received numerous awards and our rising success has recently been highlighted in the LA Times, the National Journal, The Atlantic, EdSource, and Inside Philanthropy, among others. EnCorps received the US2020 STEM Mentoring Award (2016), Annenberg Challenge for Innovation in Technology Award (2017), Silicon Valley Education Foundation STEM Innovation Award (2017), Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation HALO Award (2018), and was a Semifinalist for the Drucker Prize (2018). EnCorps is part of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity and has partnered with multiple school districts, charter management organizations, County Offices of Education, California State Universities, as well as other NGO’s. EnCorps is focused on scaling its unique solution to address the nation’s growing STEM teacher crisis.

EnCorps STEM Fellows
By the Numbers:


Northern California Fellows recruited since 2007


Southern California Fellows recruited since 2007





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