Dig Into Mining Highlights Industry Contributions and STEM Careers

November 8, 2021

Look around and spot everything that has copper in it. Start with the computer or other device you are reading this on. That goes for pretty much every other electronic gadget, from televisions to toasters.

This simple exercise is the beginning of an example from Dig Into Mining, a collaboration between Freeport and Discovery Education that teaches middle and high school students the importance of mining while introducing them to STEM curriculums.

The online collection of classroom exercises, lesson plans, videos, interactive learning tools and other resources is so successful that Discovery Education will showcase the program as it promotes National STEM Day today.

Launched in 2014, Dig Into Mining was developed through a partnership between Freeport and Discovery Education. It is part of a broader effort by the company to assist schools and educate students about career opportunities in STEM-related fields, including the wide array of jobs in the mining industry, said Angie Harmon, Regional Manager-Community Development.

"We've invested in STEM education for nearly a decade not only because it supports a workforce pipeline of STEM-literate employees, but also because educational attainment, particularly in STEM disciplines, creates greater economic opportunity and community resilience," Harmon said. "Research demonstrates that STEM jobs will grow at nearly double the rate of other jobs and STEM workers typically earn more than those in other fields, so preparing students for those jobs means greater economic prosperity for both individuals and communities.

"One aspect of the site is helping people to see some of our career opportunities, but it's also to help people understand mining is critical to society and development, including greener economies. Even if you don't pursue a career in mining, the site aims to help people understand why we need mining rather than opposing it."

Discovery Education, part of the company that includes the Discovery Channel, is a worldwide platform that provides multimedia content and instructional support that reaches about 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide. It partners with state and local governments, as well as private companies like Freeport, to develop educational resources.

Dig Into Mining, a Discovery Education site, was produced by the organization with assistance from Freeport, which provided information, access to company sites and industry experts to develop multimedia presentations that demonstrate the value of mining and the real-world applications of STEM education. Since it was launched, about 3.6 million students have accessed the site.

Having Dig Into Mining selected as one of the sites that will be showcased by Discovery Education on National STEM Day speaks to the quality of the content and the success of the program, Harmon said.

"The thing that makes our partnership with Discovery Education unique is that it provides an opportunity to share content-rich, unbiased messaging about why mining is important and necessary to a wide audience," Harmon said. "The Dig Into Mining material takes STEM concepts and makes them real. We are pleased that Discovery offers these resources to anyone for free, and we always love the chance to share the story of the good work our employees do on a daily basis."

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