STEM Initiatives: Career Connected Learning
STEM = A bright future of opportunity and success, on the job and in the world. For many young people, this future starts with career connected learning - a continuum of awareness, exploration, and work experiences developed through strong public and private partnerships. Washington STEM is dedicated to opening doors for Washington’s young people by increasing the availability, quality, and opportunity for real-world, career connected learning opportunities that will connect youth to meaningful and well-paying jobs.
Why Career Connected Learning?
Washington state ranks first in the nation in the concentration of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs. Opportunities to access family wage STEM careers are rapidly growing. Students can work for some of the world’s most innovative companies as marine engineers, dental hygienists, viticulturists, wind turbine technicians, or programmers. There are multiple education pathways to these and other STEM jobs - post-secondary certification programs, two year technical degrees, and four-year university degrees.
Yet, many young people - especially youth of color, rural youth, youth from low income communities, and girls - don’t have access to experiences such as internships, job shadows, and technical training programs that will position them to enter STEM careers. Students can’t pursue a career that they do not know exists. And, in many cases, education programs are not aligned with workforce needs.
What We’re Doing
Our regional STEM Networks are engaged in on-site business learning experiences, teacher and business collaborations, job shadows, virtual internships, and other career connected learning opportunities.
We’re mapping the current career connected learning system. We’re designing solutions in partnership with educators, students, community members, and businesses about the needs, challenges, and solutions available in career connected learning.
We’re engaged with business leaders and synthesizing data to identify high demand STEM jobs. Across the maritime, health care, technology, agriculture, and food manufacturing sectors we are learning what employers are looking for in new employees and matching skills training with workforce needs.
We’re analyzing the programs that are working and determining how to scale these programs and increase access for underserved youth.
We're doing a deep dive in King County, Yakima, Vancouver, and Spokane to identify best-in-class programs to scale across the state so students have access to great preparations for great jobs.
For more information, or if you’d like to join us in our efforts, please contact senior program officer Gilda Wheeler at firstname.lastname@example.org.