Funding Expands School, Business Partnership

October 23, 2017 07:40 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - The goal is to strengthen Iowa’s talent pipeline.

Now, more schools will have access to the partnership that will help make that happen.


"To have an education really gives them the toolbox, but to be able to apply that learning in the real world is really what gives them the experience to be successful in the real world,” said Brad Babcock at Croell Redi-Mix in New Hampton.

The Governor's STEM Advisory Council has awarded 19 new "STEM BEST" partnerships across Iowa.

STEM is short for "science, technology, engineering, and mathematics".

"BEST" is an acronym for "businesses engaging students and teachers".

"The program is an opportunity for students and businesses to interact and engage with one another, so our students are involved in projects that meet a business need," said Charles City Community Schools Supt. Dan Cox.

“And they're willing to work right alongside our students and allow our kids to solve some of those real problems" teacher Donna Forsyth added.

“We get to be involved in helping the kids educate themselves and potentially create a workforce where they may want to come back in this area as they learn about our business as well," said Croell’s Brad Babcock. Croell is one of the project’s business partners.

And tapping into the expertise of business and industry isn't just creating the workforce of the future, it's strengthening communities.

"A huge success for these small towns is getting people to move back here and we need to keep that up and keep trying to do that and we're just trying to find resolutions on how to do that," said Charles City senior Theo Arndt.

A STEM BEST grant two years ago led to the creation of the Iowa  Big North Consortium, which included the Charles City, New Hampton, Osage, and Rudd-Rockford- Marble Rock community schools.

"I've learned a lot through this project, especially leadership and real-world problem-solving skills,” said Charles City senior Hunter Carey.

"We're getting an additional allocation now to expand our program from beyond the four schools to potentially up to ten in the next two years” Supt. Dan Cox said of the latest round of funding.


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