The need for inter-state collaboration in STEM was identified shortly after Iowa’s STEM Council was established. John Deere, DuPont-Pioneer (now Corteva) and Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace) advised that like many businesses, they cross borders into surrounding states and encouraged solutions for talent development and innovative thinking across the Midwest. They inspired the Council’s administrative team to launch the Midwest STEM Forum.
The seventh convening of STEM leaders across Midwest states, known as the Midwest STEM Forum, was held virtually this past month. Participants included representatives from Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Iowa, along with guests from the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES) and the Education Commission of the States (ECS). Corporate representatives included Collins Aerospace, John Deere and Boston Scientific.
STEM Council Executive Director Jeff Weld welcomed participants and gave an overview of the protocols and agenda. TIES Founder and Senior Partner Jan Morrison shared a vision for the future of STEM. The rest of the forum consisted of three sessions that covered the following topics:
- Adapting STEM education services and programming to the pandemic
- Equity and access to STEM
- High quality elementary STEM education
- Solving barriers to successful career pathways
- ROI for STEM via a cradle-to-career indicator
- Broad scale successes in computer science education
- Aligning policy and research pressures at the school level with visions of the Federal STEM Plan
- Out-of-school STEM
- Building a united front on STEM across a state and region with an encompassing vision
Each state has its own unique STEM landscape. The Midwest STEM Forum unites the region through conversation and collaboration that sparks opportunity to bolster STEM education at the regional level.