Companies Honored for Innovative STEM-Friendly Practices

Innovate+Educate honors five companies for bridging the skills gap and promoting workforce development.


Innovate+Educate, a company dedicated to aligning STEM education and workforce development, has announced the recipients of their first-ever HIRE Awards.

AmeriHealth Caritas, Bank of America, Boeing, Gilchrist Construction Company and Southwire were lauded for their innovative approaches to hiring and training employees and promoting "a diverse and work-ready pipeline of talent," Innovate+Educate CEO and Founder Jamai Bliven said in a press release. Lexington, Ky.-based Big Ass Fans and The city of Albuquerque, N.M., earned honorable mentions.

"Many of the companies that applied are doing great work in seeking new ways to hire, and our goal for this award is to continue to challenge companies to 'rise to a new level' in employing talent in unique and innovative ways," Bliven said. She also thanked this year's judges – representatives from Jobs for the Future, the National Association of Workforce Boards, Society for Human Resources Management, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and U.S. News & World Report.

"I am pleased to join with Innovate+Educate in presenting this award," said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News & World Report. "As U.S. News & World report continues to focus on STEM solutions, we know that hiring strategies are critical in building the workforce for the future."

Bliven, who founded Innovate+Educate in 2009, said in an interview that the pathway from education to employment is evolving – and that companies need to adapt to hire the best and the brightest candidates.

"Not everyone has the opportunity or the time or the financial ability for four years of school right after high school," she pointed out.

"I think it's critical that all students and job seekers get STEM skills and education," she added. "But not everyone will get them from a traditional education-first path. You can get them on the job. The employer's role could be to create a foundation for STEM."

The companies will receive their awards during Innovate+Educate's Close-It Summit, to be held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 5-7.

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  • Lylah Alphonse

    Lylah M. Alphonse is the Managing Editor of Special Reports for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or e-mail her at