From: Stanford Lockhart (selockhart)
To: stanlockhartutah,
Subject: STEM Talk with Stan Lockhart
Date: Sun Jul 06 03:45:41 MDT 2014
Body:

Dear STEM Education Friends:

 

Summer is here and it’s a great time to explore Utah and while you are doing it think about STEM education in Utah.

 

Here is a thought provoking Verizon video about the messages we give to girls:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP3cyRRAfX0

 

I get a lot of questions about STEM in Utah and I thought maybe a frequently asked questions email might be helpful. (The answers are my opinion alone)

 

What is the Goal of Utah’s STEM Efforts?

 

The problem statement is simple. There are thousands of STEM job openings in Utah that go unfilled because qualified applicants aren’t found. There are thousands of people searching for better jobs who don’t show the prerequisite skills. Our goal is to prepare students to take these jobs.

 

Better STEM education is needed for every Utah student. As we provide better learning experiences in STEM for students, we will help Governor Herbert achieve his goal of 66% of Utahns with postsecondary certificates and degrees by 2020. More students will be at grade level in Math by 8th grade. More students will graduate from high school. More students will enter postsecondary education. And fewer students will need remedial math in College.

 

What is the STEM Action Center?

The STEM Action Center was created by the Utah Legislature in 2013 (HB 139). Its purpose is to coordinate STEM activities among Utah STEM stakeholders that includes government, K-16 education, industry and community and cultural entities and serve as a research center for the State Board of Education. The Center has been funded for the following: 1.) Math Digital Learning which I call Math curriculum enhancement software used in the classroom and at home. 2) Teacher professional development that results in better student achievement in the classroom. 3) CTE modernization including project based learning and career pathways. The STEM Action Center helps to coordinate STEM grants, expand participation in STEM competitions, fairs and camps and build relationships within the Utah STEM community. The STEM Action Center searches for best practices in STEM education in Utah and nationally. Contact Tami Goetz at 801-674-2405 or tgoetz@utah.gov for more details.


What is the STEM Education Investors Coalition?

 

The STEM Education Investor’s Coalition was created due to language in HB 139 that mandated strategically engaging industry and business entities to cooperate with the STEM Action Center and to provide private funding and support for the STEM Action Center.

The first Monday of each month at 7:30 am, those who invest in STEM meet at Zions Bank in downtown SLC – 18th floor to discuss what they are investing in and what outcomes they are getting. Forward thinking initiatives are discussed like US Synthetic’s employee training for critical thinking and problem solving skills or IM Flash’s Math Immersion Program in Alpine School District where Math scores improved by 7% in grades 10-12 or ATK’s Expanding Your Horizons program that helps girls see value in STEM related careers or Syberjet’s partnership with the Iron County School District that prepares high school students to work at Syberjet. Hill Air Force Base is doing some incredible work with STEM education. We have met with Utah Legislators during the legislative session. We had a speed dating event with the informal STEM partners made up of science centers, museums, planetariums, aquariums, and after school programs. In a particularly interesting meeting, we had our eyes opened with a panel of minority/economically challenged students talking about difficulties not just in STEM, but just to stay in school. Organizations that represent over 50,000 employees regularly attend meetings. Contact Stan Lockhart at 801-368-2166 or stanlockhartutah@gmail.com for more details.

What is the STEM Media Campaign?

 

The STEM Media Campaign emerged from discussions on how industry and the private sector could provide funding and support for the STEM Action Center. After discovering that the STEM Action Center couldn’t spend private dollars, the Utah Technology Council volunteered to use their foundation to receive and spend contributions. Inspiring and changing hearts and minds of students, parents and teachers was identified as a top priority. Comcast and KUTV agreed to partner with industry in a significant way and the STEM Media Campaign was born. Today, $2.5 million in cash and in-kind has been pledged to this effort and ads have been shown all over the State that highlight great Utah organizations and why they need a STEM workforce.

 

In September 2014, the STEM Media Campaign plans the launch of STEM 2.0 which will include a student engagement component and new funding opportunities. Stay tuned. Contact Stan Lockhart at 801-368-2166 or stanlockhartutah@gmail.com for more details.

 

What STEM Conferences and Festivals are in the Works?

The STEM Action Center has recently started to work with industry and education partners to organize a state-wide STEM festival in late March, 2015.  The planning is in early stages but key features of the festival will be to (1)  engage students, teacher and parents from across the State (2) allow industry partners to lead out on providing the hands on or interactive component of the festival (3) and most importantly..... make STEM fun!!

This will be a major undertaking; if you are interested in providing ideas and input please do not hesitate to contact Tami Goetz at 801-674-2405 or tgoetz@utah.gov.  Additionally, there has been some debate as to whether to include opportunities to share best practices in STEM activities as part of the STEM festival or hold a separate conference.  Please provide your input on this issue!

 

What are the STEMLink Grants?

The STEMLink grant programs are a partnership between the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) and the STEM Action Center.  The STEMLink grants are intended to assist schools to help every child obtain in-demand skills, the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), in partnership with the STEM Action Center and the Utah State Office of Education (USOE), will help to break poverty cycles and prepare a talent pipeline for the workforce.  The STEMLink Partnership will provide two separate grant opportunities (STEM In-School K-12 and STEM Out-of-School K-12) to develop, implement, expand or enhance STEM skills and activities for students. These grants will focus on under-served youth, helping them to gain and apply STEM skills. These grants will also target those students who need the most help in gaining employable skills that will help them achieve financial independence. In turn these students will catalyze economic growth within their communities. By serving the student, these grants will ultimately benefit communities and businesses.

The overarching goals for projects funded are to: (1) Increase interest and excitement in STEM learning (2) Increase STEM skills, understanding, knowledge and competency (3) Increase awareness and interest in STEM education and career pathways and (4) When appropriate, provide students with industry recognized or stackable credentials.

The request for proposals has closed and grants are under review.  There were 42 grants received for the after school program and 47 for the in school program.  There was an impressive distribution of applicants from across the State.

What Other Grant Opportunities Could Support STEM Activities?

I’ve been told there are over 100 STEM grants available through the federal government. There are a variety of private foundations around the country that offer STEM grants. Many companies have their own STEM grant programs. Over time as we identify grant programs, we can help publicize them so that those who qualify can apply and receive them.

 

The Utah Department of Workforce Services announced recently a $30M grant opportunity through TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) that might be a match for your needs.  This is not a STEM-specific grant program however STEM-based project are welcome.  The link is http://jobs.utah.gov/edo/rfp.html and a required LOI is due by the close of July 7th.  This is a fast turnaround however an LOI is not a difficult document to pull together.  The full application is due by the end of business on July 23.  This could work for those who already have a program for which you want to expand capacity or function. Contact Tami Goetz at 801-674-2405 or tgoetz@utah.gov for more details.

 

Is there going to be a comprehensive, searchable database that will help to match STEM needs to resources?

Yes! The STEM Action Center is working with STEM partners to create a comprehensive database that will help to connect STEM resources to students in K-16, parents and industry and community and cultural partners.  Stay tuned for progress!