Washington State faces a major skills gap in several areas, such as technology, computer science, and engineering, and is stepping up to this challenge. The future of any region in the US depends on its ability to power student success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In Washington State, STEM jobs have grown at a rate three times greater than non-STEM jobs. While the state ranks first in the concentration of STEM jobs, it has a dismal record in producing STEM graduates. Almost half of the students who enter community colleges and four year universities in the state need remedial math. Given the state’s difficulty in funding public education, exacerbated by the Great Recession, the business community is stepping up to help in a variety of ways. The main vehicle for reform and action is the creation of Washington STEM, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to advancing innovation, equity and excellence in STEM education. www.washingtonstem.org. Launched last year, Washington STEM partners with education, business and community leaders to bridge opportunities in education and economy that reimagine STEM education for all students.
Northeastern University – Seattle has jumped in to help the STEM effort in Washington. It has served as a convener in bringing together over the summer STEM leaders from the public and private sectors, including Washington STEM. The Metropolitan Seattle Chamber’s annual Regional Leadership Conference this October will focus in part on advancing the state’s STEM agenda at the federal, state and regional levels. For more information, contact Dean Tayloe Washburn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Starting in January 2013, Northeastern-Seattle will provide much-needed advanced degrees for working professionals who want to advance their skills and careers in many STEM areas. Dean Washburn yesterday joined other STEM leaders at Washington STEM’s offices to hear Brian Kelly, Editor of U.S. News & World Report, discuss why STEM is a top priority for US News and why he believes Washington STEM’s leadership efforts are a great model for other states to follow.
The event’s take-away pen: a rocket ship, wish-bone, or…what is it?