Washington STEM awards Apple STEM Network $30,000 to fuel innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education
Media Contacts: Dr. Sue Kane, Apple STEM Network planning director, 509.682.6760, firstname.lastname@example.org or Carli Schiffner, vice president of instruction, 509.682.6605, email@example.com.
December 18, 2015
Wenatchee Valley College today announced it received a planning grant totaling $30,000 from Washington STEM to help establish the Apple STEM Network. According to Washington STEM, Washington state has the highest concentration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related jobs in the nation, yet ranks 49th in its ability to meet the skills gap and fill the bounty of jobs.
During the planning grant phase, the Apple STEM Network will work locally and in cooperation with Washington STEM to grow systems in which educators in Wenatchee, East Wenatchee and Cashmere, local employers, community leaders and the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance work together to match education to STEM career opportunities.
"STEM education is intended to develop critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and critical reasoning skills that will benefit all of the students in our region, regardless of the career path they choose down the road," says WVC STEM Specialist and biology faculty Dr. Sue Kane, who will serve as the planning director for Apple STEM Network. "This collaboration is an amazing opportunity to come together around a shared vision to close the opportunity gaps that exist for the youth in our cities."
WVC will invest an additional $15,000 toward the planning for this regional network.
"Nearly half of new, first-time Wenatchee Valley College students are unprepared for college-level math courses," says Dr. Jim Richardson, WVC President and college readiness commissioner for the American Association of Community Colleges. "WVC is excited to work together with this growing regional network to close the skills gap in STEM education."
The Apple STEM Network will serve as a three-dimensional alliance of K-12, higher education and community partners in industry, government, nonprofits, public utilities, health care, agriculture and small business. Network members represent a diverse region with tremendous potential for STEM industry growth in agriculture and energies. "We would like to take up enthusiasm that we saw this last year with the Mini Maker's Faire and empower the students in our community to pursue innovation in STEM as well, tomorrow's jobs an technology may just begin right here in our valley," says Kane.
The Apple STEM Network will help promote awareness about what STEM is and what STEM professions look like, and provide a constructive support system for educators to develop STEM literacy in their classrooms through professional development and aligning resources. The Apple STEM network will also leverage its community partnerships to support students through mentorship and internship opportunities and promote hands-on project-based learning and field experiences for all levels of education.
Washington STEM first approached the Wenatchee region after hearing about the community engagement in the Wenatchee Learns Initiative. "We chose the Apple STEM Network for this grant because of their strong track record working with education, community and business partners," said Patrick D'Amelio, Washington STEM CEO. "We believe the network will bring STEM professionals, educators, and communities together to improve STEM education and prepare students for the STEM careers that drive Washington state's economy."
The Apple STEM Network is joining a statewide system of seven established STEM networks: Mid-Columbia (Tri-Cities), Snohomish, South Central (Yakima), South King County, Southwest Washington, Spokane and West Sound (Bremerton). Combined, these networks serve almost half of Washington state's students and approximately 45,000 teachers.
Two additional communities have received $30,000 planning grants to develop regional networks: Tacoma and Sedro-Woolley. Upon completion of a business plan, there is potential for an additional three years and $200,000 in implementation grant funding through Washington STEM for each of the three new networks.
For a complete list and descriptions of the STEM Networks visit www.washingtonstem.org/Our-Approach/STEM-Networks and for more information and updates regarding the Apple STEM Network, visit www.applestemnetwork.org
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Wenatchee Valley College
Wenatchee Valley College enriches North Central Washington by serving educational and cultural needs of communities and residents throughout the service area. The college provides high-quality transfer, liberal arts, professional/technical, basic skills and continuing education for students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Visit our website at www.wvc.edu.
Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit advancing excellence, equity, and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Launched in March 2011 with support from the business, education, and philanthropic communities, our goal is to reimagine and revitalize STEM education across Washington. For more information, go to www.washingtonstem.org