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STEM Takes Flight

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Leaders from Across Washington State Commit to Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education

 
SEATTLE (July 12, 2012) – Today, almost 150 business, education and community leaders from across Washington state and the nation announced a set of commitments to ensure all students have a high quality education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to increase and diversify the STEM pipeline necessary for a healthy economy.
 
Leaders from businesses including The Boeing Company, McKinstry, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Avista, and Microsoft worked with education leaders from the University of Washington, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington Education Association, Snoqualmie Tribes and other organizations at the Aerospace Industries Association / National Defense Industrial Association / Business and Industry STEM Education Coalition’s meeting to develop the following STEM Takes Flight 2012 Commitments:
 
  • Achieving A Common Vision: Create an awareness campaign around STEM and develop an asset map of STEM programs in state.
  • Preparing The Future Workforce: Support coupling of K-12 STEM education with financial investments from industry to expand student enrollment in post-secondary degrees.
  • Reaching A Broader Audience:  Building on Washington STEM’s communications and community engagement work, develop a plan to further engage parents, business and educators.
  • Starting a STEM Network: (1) Share STEM Network model and case studies with community; (2) Remove access to barriers; (3) Leverage relationships and funding; (4) Connect community and develop start-ups; and (5) Formalize the network.
  • Advancing Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards: Convene stakeholders to develop shared implementation plan and develop and share audience-specific messages.
  • Washington STEM – Statewide Convener: Working with the growing network, Washington STEM will: (1) Develop and share common messaging & outcomes; (2) Mobilize parents, students, teachers, business and industry; and (3) Reconvene next year to assess and increase impact.
 “The number and diversity of organizations represented at this gathering clearly shows our state’s dedication to ensuring student success in STEM,” said Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry and Chair of Washington STEM’s Board of Directors. “STEM education will help drive Washington’s economy, and the business and education leaders represented here are committed to supporting students so they can be successful in this changing workplace.”
 
Washington STEM in partnership with The Boeing Company, the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Defense Industrial Association hosted the two-day STEM Workforce Division meeting at The Boeing Company’s state-of-the art Customer Experience Center in Renton, WA. The STEM Workforce Division meeting provides a statewide forum to share best practices, coalesce STEM education activity and make commitments to drive greater impact for students, communities and Washington state.
 
Highlighting the importance of the issue, gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and Attorney General Rob McKenna spoke to the attendees today to discuss how STEM fields drive the economy of Washington state and what kinds of education policies and practices are needed to reflect and support that growth.
 
"I'm very appreciative of the crucial work that Washington STEM and its business partners are achieving in our state, helping set us on the path to greater academic and economic success for all of Washington's students,” said Jay Inslee. “Our P-12 system must better equip our children to be the innovators and inventors of tomorrow, and our universities and colleges must prepare students with the STEM skills and knowledge our employers so desperately need. That's why I'm committed to making innovation and STEM education a bigger priority in our school system. The status quo is no longer adequate to ensure our workforce and our children will be competitive in the 21st Century Innovation Economy."
 
“Expanding STEM opportunities around the entire state is central to our economic future,” said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna. “Programs such as Delta High School in the Tri-Cities, Aviation High School in Burien, and TAF Academy in Federal Way are shining examples of how to prepare students for their future; the challenge is in creating more STEM opportunities for our students. A quality STEM education not only teaches the abilities required of a skilled labor force, but also produces the types of thinkers and workers who can lead future innovations and technological advances within their respective fields. That’s the kind of education every child deserves and needs.”
 
The STEM Takes Flight 2012 Commitments were developed over two days by participants in workshops that tackled topics such as Preparing the Future Workforce – Joining Business and Educators to Reimagine STEM Education, Building a STEM Foundation: Advancing Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards and more.
 
“STEM isn’t just for scientists and engineers,” said Caroline King, Chief Operating Officer of Washington STEM.  “STEM education builds creativity and critical thinking skills that are necessary for all kinds of jobs across our state. It will take all of us -- businesses, elected officials, educators, parents, students and community organizations -- working together to ensure all students are prepared for the future.”
 
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About Washington STEM: Launched in March 2011 with support from the business, education, and philanthropic communities, Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit advancing a shared vision of excellence, equity, and innovation in STEM education. Its goal is to reimagine and revitalize STEM education across Washington through investments supported by technical assistance and evaluation, to spread innovations statewide. Learn more at www.washingtonstem.org, join the conversation at Facebook, or follow STEM on Twitter @washingtonstem

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