Bridging Business and Education through STEM BEST

STEM BEST Program
North Cedar Elementary students of Cedar Falls Community School District prepare their custom blend of coffee in partnership with locally owned Sidecar Coffee.
Currently, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is accepting applicationsfor new STEM work-based learning models, known as the Iowa STEM BEST®(Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program A total of 50 STEM BEST® Programs have been awarded throughout Iowa over the past five years. These programs are providing meaningful work-based learning experiences and activities in the K-12 educational arena. 
 
The challenges faced by today's educators are numerous and complex. Effective partnerships are a successful educational strategy and can bring relevance and rigor to students' learning environments.
 
As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce states, “The business community is the number one consumer of the public education system and, therefore, must be an involved and engaged stakeholder in the education of America’s children.” Successful businesses often depend on a well-educated and adaptable pool of young talent emerging from America’s high schools and colleges to maintain stability and growth. As it might be expected, there is no single framework for a school-business partnership. Partnerships between education and the business community can:           
  • Provide work-based learning experiences that transfer knowledge and skills between the classroom and the work setting
  • Help schools build career cultures that empower students
  • Help educators align curriculum to build Iowa’s talent pipeline
  • Build meaningful relationships with mentors
  • Provide tours, speakers and facilities
  • Provide funding and equipment for classrooms and work spaces
The foundation of STEM BEST® Program is the connection between education and local economic and workforce needs. Successful implementation requires districts to identify local workforce needs as a driving force for curriculum, course strands offered and program focus.
 
Further details on the STEM BEST Program can be found at http://www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST.
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