Re-posted from source: http://blog.washingtonstem.org/2017/07/24/19583/?mc_cid=fc7e631b52&mc_eid=6f1dfdf385
Earlier this month the Washington Legislature made some big decisions for public education by passing the 2017 operating budget and the McCleary-K-12 funding plan, both signed by Governor Inslee.
Washington STEM worked in partnership with our STEM Networks and over 100 community, business, and education leaders to advocate for the support of STEM education. We’re pleased to share that within the operating budget and the McCleary plan are some strong investments supporting STEM education, and we thank the Legislature for investing in Washington students’ success.
As you might know, the Legislature adjourned without passing a capital budget. We continue to advocate for the re-up of a capital investment program to provide students across the state access to STEM classrooms and labs.
Here are some notable updates from the operating budget and K-12 funding plan:
Support for computer science education funding was maintained at a $2 million public investment matched 1:1 with a $2 million private investment level. As computer science is essential for many 21st century jobs, we’re glad the Legislature continues to support professional development, upgraded technology, and innovative efforts to engage underrepresented students and girls in computer science. We particularly thank Representative Drew Hansen for his leadership on this issue.
Washington STEM estimates this funding will provide access for approximately 22 percent of students throughout the state. We’re committed to going back next year to ask the Legislature to invest $6 million matched 1:1 with a $6 million private funds to ensure that 50 percent of Washington students have publically funded computer science education.
While Washington STEM’s other big push, career connected learning, was not funded through the state’s operating budget, our efforts secured $2 million in funding for career connected learning – $1 million federal funds and $1 million through JPMorgan Chase. We’re committed to continuing to work with the Legislature to ensure young people have hands on, real world opportunities that allow them to enter the workforce engaged and prepared.
STEM and CTE received a big bump through McCleary. Career Technical Education (CTE), part of a strong career connected learning continuum, received $191.8 million to reduce class sizes, meaning students will have more focused attention leading to better classroom experiences. Additionally, school districts will have the option to give up to a 10 percent salary over the maximum for educators teaching in STEM fields – a strong recruitment and retention tool for these sometimes hard to fill but crucial opportunities.
In other key areas,
Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) was funded at $14.73 million which will allow them to continue to deliver scholarships for Washington students going into STEM and medical fields. We’ll continue to work with WSOS to support scholarships for students going to community college.
LASER, which supports K-12 science education, maintained funding at $714K
Washington MESA, which supports underrepresented students in STEM, received a $1.5 million grant to expand to six additional community colleges in the state
The Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO) Quality Initiative was in the budget for $750K, which allows our partner School’s Out Washington to continue their work to engage expanded learning programs in quality improvement efforts.
We thank the Governor and Washington Legislature for making significant steps forward to support students during a busy year. If you have any questions about Washington STEM’s policy efforts, please contact Jesse Gilliam, Washington’s STEM’s Communications Director.
“You have 30 seconds to tell who you are, what you’re passionate about, and why this area of work interests you.” That was the charge given by Jason Archer, Managing Director from Accenture, in one of three mini-workshops at a recent Washington MESA Career Readiness Networking Event.
Washington MESA is a statewide organization housed in the University of Washington, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity that builds pathways to college and careers for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. It develops programming and initiatives that focus on supporting traditionally underrepresented students in these fields, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and women.
This particular event, held at the UW’s Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, was designed to help MESA students put their best foot forward in the pursuit of internships and employment in STEM fields. Over 60 community college and university students, as well as 18 industry partners, were in attendance.
At the event –which included dinner and networking– industry representatives from Accenture (event co-sponsor), Boeing, Google, Microsoft, and Weyerhaeuser led students through three highly interactive workshops: Delivering an Elevator Pitch, Resume Best Practices, and Interview Strategies. Students loved the activities which allowed them to develop a skill set to market the STEM skills they’ve attained through their studies. “This was a great opportunity for all of us, please hold events like these in the future!” voiced a student participant.
Jarman Hauser, Accenture, Cloud Computing Engineer was the industry partner driving force behind this event. He designed the mini workshops and served as the main facilitator. “As one of the key stakeholders in the career readiness pipeline, Industries play a critical role in preparing students for STEM careers,” reflected Jarman. “Industries should be more connected to opportunities and initiatives that aim to develop local talent. There is a real lack of diversity in the workplace across the board but even more so in STEM – that’s why events like this are so impactful. Industries need to get more involved and make serious commitments to these types of efforts if we want to see real change which will ultimately add greater value at the end of the day.”
In addition to the mini-workshops with students and industry partners, representatives from the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (WSCTC) and from the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) shared timely and useful information about current internship opportunities available to community college and university students.
“The Career Readiness and Networking Event was a valuable and relevant resource for the students. Although not currently recognized as a core educational experience, it’s clear that career readiness is an important bridge to future employment that students may or may not cross,” stated James Dorsey, Washington MESA Executive Director and one of the event organizers.
“The structure of the event established a comfortable atmosphere which allowed students to practice and refine their networking skills in a low-stakes environment while meaningfully engaging the professionals in their own area of expertise.” reflected Lee Lambert, Washington STEM Network Director STEM on his experience at the event. “The MESA Career Readiness workshop is a great model for future events.” The project partners are eager to explore what and how we can leverage and scale this event for more college level students across the state as well as explore how an event like this could be offered to High School students.
Ready, set, go, now what’s your 30 second elevator pitch?