Efforts to educate and inspire Mid-Columbia students about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related fields received a $40,000 boost this week with a contribution from Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS).
WRPS President Mark Lindholm made the donation to the Washington State STEM Education Foundation at its January board meeting
Much of the money will be used to expand a successful “STEM Like Me!” program. Facilitating personal interactions with STEM professionals from local companies and organizations, STEM Like Me! inspires middle school students to envision themselves in the shoes of a STEM professional.
“Washington state ranks No. 1 in the concentration of STEM-related jobs. Yet our state ranks low in the production of computer science, engineering and health degrees relative to job openings in those fields, and we see an increasing demand in those areas locally,” said Matt Hammer, the Foundation’s board president. “We’re working to create a ‘home-grown’ STEM-qualified workforce here in our region.”
Due to its establishment as a model for bringing real-world professionals into the classroom, the STEM Like Me! program received a National Governors Association Policy Academy grant as one of 21 STEM learning labs in Washington. A program patterned after the Mid-Columbia model has now begun in Skagit County.
“We recognize the importance of and impact the Foundation’s efforts will have on increasing the number of students entering STEM fields,” Lindholm said. “They will become the leaders in tomorrow’s increasingly technological world.”
WRPS has contributed $105,000 to the Foundation over the last three years.
“WRPS is having a real impact by providing not only these much-needed funds, but also through its employees who help young people experience STEM in action,” Hammer said. “By helping our Foundation expand career-connected learning experiences, WRPS is helping us position the Mid-Columbia as a national leader in STEM literacy. That can become a competitive advantage for us as a community.”
Media Contact: Deb Bowen, Executive Director at the Washington State STEM Education Foundation
Phone: 509.947.1896 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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