Note: This is third in a series of posts by members of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Steering Committee and Board of Champions.
There is an economic imperative in this country. It is that our economic vitality depends on growing the knowledge and skills among our youth so that our country can compete internationally. Global competition is fierce. If we want to maintain our standard of living and quality of life we must focus on making more students college and career ready, and more students must become interested in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines starting in the early grades. They must seek to pursue careers in those areas while in high school. The importance of creating career pathways for students starting in the early grades can not be underestimated. The Board of Regents and SUNY have made STEM a top priority. Our Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES interest in supporting economic development through STEM started in 2006 when it was set as a strategic priority. In our region, we created awareness activities with educators, government officials and business representatives, provided regional leadership in STEM, improved science curriculum materials, expanded teacher workshops, and created strands of STEM activities for students which continue today. We provide related enrichment activities for elementary and middle school students, and have expanded our rigorous career and technical education offerings articulating with post-secondary education to include renewable energy, engineering technology, training in geothermal, solar and wind energy, and home energy analysis, with additional support of start-up funds from NYSERDA. But this is just the beginning of our long-term strategy to add and expand more opportunities for students. Because of our partnership with the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board and its Regional Skills Alliances, in Health, Advanced Manufacturing and Skilled Trades, and our regional colleges, we remain very committed. I am pleased to be an advocate on the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Board of Champions.
Joseph Marinelli is a member of the Finger Lakes STEM Hub Board of Champions.