LAS VEGAS - Middle school students in the Clark County School District now have more opportunities to be better prepared for tomorrow’s workforce thanks to a generous gift from The STEM Academy, Inc.
Bank of Nevada has strongly advocated that students across the state need access to educational tools that will help them excel in tomorrow’s demanding workforce. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum improves the ability of students to meet those demands. Over the course of several months, Bank of Nevada worked with The STEM Academy, Inc. and state education officials to create a plan that would make more STEM courses available to all Nevada middle school students, including those in the Clark County School District. As a result, The STEM Academy, Inc. gifted $1.4 million dollars in STEM 101 curriculum and teacher training to Nevada’s middle schools last year. The initial announcement of the donation was made during the Business + Education (BE) Engaged Summit held on March 7, 2016.
Last month, the Clark County School District (CCSD) Board of Trustees approved the STEM 101 curriculum, allowing middle school teachers and students in the district to be among the first in the state to have access to it.
“This curriculum is extremely important to the economic future of our students and our state,” said Bank of Nevada CEO John Guedry. “The strength and success of a state’s public education system are directly linked to a business owner’s decision to relocate or expand in Nevada. To be able to compete for high paying jobs in the future, and to help the state in attracting new businesses, Nevada students will need to have STEM-based skills in order to be workforce ready.”
STEM 101 is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. While this knowledge is extremely useful to students on its own, it also provides many of the key skills students will need when they enter the workforce, including problem-solving, analytical thinking, and the ability to work independently. Exposing students to this curriculum at an early age also engages students in planning for their future careers. Information about the curriculum is available at stem101.org.
Later this month, CCSD middle school teachers who have an interest in potentially using the STEM 101 curriculum will learn how to incorporate it into their classes. Some students may have access to the curriculum as soon as January. Adoption of the curriculum is strictly voluntary.
”The Clark County School District has a strong focus on STEM education, in alignment with the skill and workforce needs of Nevada,” said CCSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jesse Welsh. “We are pleased to establish this partnership with STEM 101 to provide middle schools with access to STEM curriculum materials and, through the Corporate Connections program, to show students the STEM jobs out there right now in local Nevada businesses.”
“Over the past year, we have worked with the Nevada business community to develop competency-based curriculum resources that connect students to the in-demand career pathways of Nevada,” said STEM Academy, Inc. CEO Russell Mickelson. “These relevant hands-on experiences help CCSD students realize their potential for college and careers. We are excited to assist CCSD and the state of Nevada in their efforts to enhance education across the schools.”
The STEM Academy’s gift to Nevada’s 88 middle schools also fits into the state’s long-term goal of diversifying the economy. In 2011, at the height of the recession, Governor Brian Sandoval created the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED.) GOED’s mission is to diversify Nevada’s economy by attracting new employers to the state. Included in this effort is an emphasis on creating a pathway for highly skilled workers to fill these future jobs. STEM-based skills are an essential part of this effort.
In addition to the curriculum, the STEM Academy is also working to expand what middle school students understand the workforce and their future career options. Through the Corporate Connections program, middle school students have the opportunity to meet with local people currently employed in a job a student may want to pursue. The program provides students with the unique opportunity to learn what each job entails and what type of education is required for a particular position.
About Bank of Nevada
Bank of Nevada is a division of Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, the go-to bank for business in its growing markets. Founded in 1994, Bank of Nevada offers a full spectrum of deposit, lending, treasury management, international banking and online banking products and services, plus superior service to meet the needs of local businesses. With 10 offices in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Mesquite, along with Western Alliance Bank’s robust national platform of specialized financial services, the banking division is a valued partner for Southern Nevada’s business, real estate, professional, municipal and nonprofit communities. Western Alliance Bank is the primary subsidiary of Phoenix-based Western Alliance Bancorporation. One of the country’s top-performing banking companies, Western Alliance ranks #4 on the Forbes 2017 “Best Banks in America” list. For more information, visit bankofnevada.com.
About the Clark County School District
Established in 1956, the Clark County School District (CCSD) is the fifth largest school district in the country, educating approximately 75 percent of all students in Nevada with more than 320,000 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade. The District encompasses 358 schools and approximately 8,000 square miles in southern Nevada. CCSD is a minority-majority student district and employs more than 40,000 employees.
About STEM 101
As a national non-profit we partner with companies to develop exciting, real-world, virtual experiences designed to inspire student pursuit of STEM education and career pathways. Student projects can be utilized for in-schools, after-school or summer program use and result in effective corporate education outreach, public relations, and workforce development. Students not only complete a project connected to a participating company, they also learn about the culture and important role the company plays in the community. We work with state government, education and industry leaders to ensure student projects have the potential to impact 100% of students within a region or state.