STEM School+Business Innovation Conference lights a spark on new partnerships 

The first-ever Iowa STEM School+Business Innovation Conference united nearly 300 people from across Iowa to bridge local schools and businesses to close the skills gap and build a stronger STEM-talented workforce for Iowa's future.
The future of Iowa's economy and workforce is about to get a boost from nearly 300 educators, principals/administrators, business leaders, economic/workforce development leaders and more who attended this past week's STEM School+Business Innovation Conference.
The conference focused on equipping local teams with the tools necessary to build school+business partnerships in their communities across Iowa. To do that, the event brought in almost 50 leaders from various communities around the state already bridging partnerships to share their knowledge and best practices. The agenda tackled topics like how to build school+business partnerships, incentives and motives, policies and rules to consider, program assessment and professional development for teachers.
Some of Iowa's STEM BESTŪ models presented, including the four-district consortium model led out of Charles City, Iowa BIG, Rocket Manufacturing and STEM Innovator, along with other active partnerships including Waukee APEX and Roosevelt High School's Rider Root Beer. Existing programs and organizations whose role is to connect schools with local employers offered their services, including DMACC's Teaching for the Workforce Workshops, Iowa Intermediary Network and Iowa STEM Teacher Externships.
As the lunch keynote, Gary Scholten, senior vice president and chief information officer (CIO) for The Principal Financial Group and executive committee member of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council, spoke passionately about the importance of school+business partnerships, offering insights into the changing landscape of the workforce needed and how Iowa should address it.
The end of the day's opportunity drew in a crowd of roughly 80 people eager to learn more about how to write a "winning STEM BEST proposal" in light of the current STEM BEST award opportunity through the STEM Council. The numbers showed the growing interest in developing more school+business partnerships, answering Governor Branstad's call for more STEM BEST opportunities in the next three years.
For more information on the conference, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/School-Business-Conference.

July 22, 2016
Marshalltown Family STEM Festival
1:00 to 4:00 PM
More Information

August 2, 2016
Iowa STEM Teacher Externships
End-of-Year Forum
More Information

August 21, 2016
STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair
STEM Council
Operations Center
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298
PHONE 319-273-2959
E-MAIL [email protected]

Corporate Partners help expand the impact of Iowa STEM programs

Thanks to more than $500,000 in Corporate Partner support this past fiscal year, more Iowans have been able to benefit from Iowa STEM programming.
The demand for talent to fill STEM jobs in Iowa drives the mission of the STEM Council -- an "edu-nomic" development charge aiming now to bridge more school+business partnerships through exemplary STEM education in the PreK-12 arena.
That means the time, talent and treasures of the STEM Council's Corporate Partners are vital in answering the call to unite the worlds of business and education. It is because of these partnerships that Iowa STEM programming is able to impact about 100,000 students every year across the state.
This past fiscal year, the STEM Council partnered with dozens of Corporate Partners who invested more than $500,000 in various activities underneath the STEM Council's umbrella. With their support, the STEM Council:
  • Doubled the amount of STEM BESTŪ and STEM RLE awards given in November 2015;
  • Led a second year of rallying Iowa behind "Code Iowa" and offering training workshops to teachers;
  • Increased the amount of STEM Scale-Up Program awards;
  • Awarded a second round of six exemplary STEM teachers with the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award;
  • Developed a portal that serves as a community for STEM Scale-Up Program educators (coming soon!);
  • Worked with Strategic America to create four new career vignettes showcasing Iowa STEM jobs;
  • Brought in nearly 60 Teacher Externs for this summer's Iowa STEM Teacher Externships program.

The effects of this support equips educators, inspires students and changes the way our state thinks about preparing these young minds for the jobs of the future in Iowa. We are grateful for all of our Corporate Partners who believe in our mission and trust us to work with all cross-sections of Iowa to help close the skills gap for them and the future of Iowa's economy.


A full list of Corporate Partners can be found at www.IowaSTEM.gov/Corporate-Partners.

MVP for Iowa STEM: Emily Abbas

"Greatness STEMs from" Emily Abbas, a member of the STEM Council, as this month's MVP for Iowa STEM.
Once a contracted agent for Iowa STEM, now a passionate volunteer to the cause, this month's MVP for Iowa STEM has helped bring "Greatness STEMs from Iowans" to life.
Emily Abbas, chief of staff and chief marketing officer for Bankers Trust, first caught the Iowa STEM fever working as the newest leader in Strategic America's (SA) public relations department in August 2013. Just prior to starting her position at SA, the advertising agency won the bid to brand and promote the STEM Council to Iowans.
With Abbas at the helm, the SA team worked closely with STEM Council leaders to build a public awareness campaign, officially launching the brand in December 2013 with an arsenal of tools that brought key audiences together to tell the story of Iowa STEM.
When the opportunity came for Abbas to join Bankers Trust in 2014, she realized the emotional connection she had developed for Iowa STEM.
"We'd come so far in just one year, and I knew there was so much more we could do," Abbas said. "It was important to me to continue to support the STEM initiative and its future success because I understand how vital it is to meeting our current and future workforce needs."

The Governor appointed Abbas to the STEM Council in August 2014 where she has since contributed to working groups, including STEM in the Arts and STEM Summit planning.

"Like many Iowans, I believe our state's education system is at the heart of what makes us great. Investing in STEM and keeping it in the forefront is not only critical to being a leader in educating the next generation, but it also is a vital economic development advantage," she said. "It's an honor to serve with other STEM Council members from across the state who share this common vision."
Hats off to Emily and the other 46 members of the STEM Council for their committed work to Iowa STEM.

What a difference a day makes in STEM education

A day of presentations, updates and highlights from active working groups and partners of Iowa STEM filled the agenda of the STEM Council's 15th meeting, marking the fifth anniversary of Iowa's STEM initiative.
The STEM Council celebrated its fifth anniversary on June 30, convening its members plus guests at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel to take stock on a number of strategic fronts as well as take aim on new ambitions.
The STEM Equity working group brought forth six powerful recommendations for engaging students of diversity. The Computer Science working group sharpened three recommendations for according all Iowa youth quality CS learning opportunities. The Active Learning Community Partners working group reported on astounding gains by instructors and youth participating in the Dimensions of Success (DoS) professional development. A new metric, "Where are they now?" is being taken up by the University of Iowa's Center for Evaluation and Assessment. Strategic America profiled a robust year of messaging impact. The Global STEM, Agriculture Science, Counselor Engagement and Youth Voice working groups portrayed forward motion as well.
Two ancillary advancements, Career and Technical Education (CTE) legislation and the Regents Alternative Pathway for Iowa Licensure (RAPIL) program, were profiled, amidst video debuts of Iowa STEM careers and a recognition ceremony of the state's six outstanding STEM Hub Institutions.
Educator Ehren Whigham along with student Henry entranced the STEM Council over their school+business partnership between Roosevelt High School and Confluence Brewery to make root beer.
Huddles around business connections, nonprofit policy and global STEM mindsets rounded out the day, book-ended by inspiring commentary by co-chairs Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson. Iowa's "edu-nomic" development initiative continues to provide plenty of inspiraSTEM!
For more information about the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Council.