CEC Middle College student Garrett Williams works in a computer gaming programming class. 

(Photo: CPR/Jenny Brundin)

A new effort starts Wednesday to get more Colorado kids trained in science, technology, engineering and math – the so-called STEM classes.

The non-profit Colorado Education Initiative is launching what it calls a STEM roadmap. The Education Initiative’s Lesley Dahlkemper says one goal is to get more girls, Latinos and rural students in STEM classes, where they are under-represented now.

"We know that diversity helps to drive innovation in STEM industries," Dahlkemper says. "That’s why it’s important to ensure that all of our students have access to high-quality STEM education."

The project has also recruited Colorado tech companies whose employees will spend time with students in science and math classes.

"A company may say, 'we really have a great group of employees who would like to volunteer in schools with students to work with them one on one,' " Dahlkemper says. "It might be taking kids to a specific location that allows them to look more closely at STEM-related careers."

The plan also calls for increasing science and math teaching in the earliest years of elementary school.