In January 2018, CIS of Chicago piloted a new direct student support program: STEMpathy. The program is inspired by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s compelling idea that the good jobs of the future will require both science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) ability and strong interpersonal skills.

As Friedman put it, "The best jobs in the future are going to be what I call STEMpathy jobs – jobs that blend STEM skills with human empathy."

Through the program, students hone their STEM abilities through hands-on science lessons. CIS of Chicago is currently offering STEMpathy Robotics for grades 6-8, with hands-on learning sessions that include programming robots and engineering designs around the robots. For example, students build a structure around the robot so that it can carry items through a maze.

Working with trained CIS of Chicago staff, the students also learn how to work effectively in teams, communicate effectively with peers, and build persistence to complete a variety of projects.