A group of business and education leaders from across Wisconsin has hammered out a plan to spur educational growth in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which include concepts such as removing barriers to related career exploration and forging more public-private partnerships in this tech-driven area.

The group, Wisconsin STEM, recently released its report, “Navigators to the future,” a sweeping look at the current condition of STEM education in the state today and as well as efforts needed to overcome a drop in the number of youth choosing STEM education and careers in related areas.

Five success markers were established in the report. They are:

  • Eliminate barriers that prevent learners from exploring STEM careers
  • Increase emphasis on acquiring STEM knowledge and skills for all learners
  • Increase public/private partnerships with a focus on STEM skills
  • Establish a statewide awareness campaign for STEM careers
  • Invest in pre- and post-professional developmental for educators to fully understand and integrate STEM throughout the curriculum.

The report was spurred by the critical need for highly educated and skilled workforce to invigorate Wisconsin’s economy.  Skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics drive innovation and opportunity for Wisconsin workers and employers. 

“The number and diversity of organizations represented in the development of this report clearly shows that Wisconsin is ready for a statewide strategy to improve STEM education and training,” said Bryan Albrecht, president of Gateway Technical College. “STEM careers provide some of our state’s best and highest paying jobs and we need to embrace the opportunity to build a STEM talent pipeline from kindergarten through college.”

More than 700 Wisconsin business and education leaders from the public and private sector worked the past six months to forge an agenda outlining the changes and practices needed to build stronger support systems for STEM education and prepare students for in STEM-related career fields.

“Employers increasingly say they are searching for soft skills as much as technical knowledge, meaning they want workers who can pull together as a team, communicate internally and externally adjust to changing conditions and function as lifelong learners,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

As outlined by the Wisconsin Technology Council, STEM talent underscores the necessity of competing in the global economy. It implies high-technology, problem-solving teaching and learning, and creates an opportunity to bring the classrooms of our state to life through business and industry partnerships.

“STEM education is an imperative to secure our state’s viability in global economy,” said Mark Tyler, president, OEM Fabricators Inc., located in the Wisconsin communities of Neillsville and Woodville.

For further media inquiries, please contact Bryan Albrecht at (262) 564-3610.

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. STEM teaching and learning is an innovative approach to unlock creativity and problem solving in learners of all ages. Through discovery, modeling and contextual learning students realize their potential and excel in active learning environments. STEM partnerships throughout the state have demonstrated the potential to unlock growth in education and workforce training by integrating the knowledge and skills of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in ways that expand college and career choices for students.

Where can I find this report?

The complete STEM Navigators to the Future report can be found at STEMForward.org.