STEM East Network Expands into Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools

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Golden LEAF Foundation President, Dan Gerlach announced a $200,000 grant awarded to Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools (NRM) earlier this week. The grant will be used to implement two STEM Learning Centers in NRM Schools.

October 24, 2014 – Rocky Mount, NC – Golden LEAF Foundation President, Dan Gerlach announced a $200,000 grant awarded to Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools (NRM) earlier this week. The grant will be used to implement two STEM Learning Centers in NRM Schools.

“The business community should feel welcome and confident,” said Golden LEAF President, Dan Gerlach.

STEM East’s goal is just that – to connect employers and educators. Beginning with the end in mind, employers are engaging with the education system to enhance students’ exposure to local careers and develop a pipeline of qualified talent to fill future jobs. 

The learning centers will become part of the STEM East Network which is associated with 44 others across eastern NC. The centers look much more like an engineering department in the workplace rather than a traditional classroom. Students engage in project-based, career-relevant, employer-influenced curriculum in a group setting where the teacher is more of a facilitator rather than a lecturer.

STEM Center curricula is aligned with the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and developed by ACT. More than 150 employers across eastern NC currently endorse the CRC for use in employment decisions.

“I believe that education projects like the Golden LEAF funded STEM Centers in Nash County, are answering the challenge of providing a STEM-skilled workforce. Employers who understand how to work with these programs to align future graduates with needed STEM positions will benefit from this ‘win-win’ opportunity,” said Executive Director of STEM East, Steve Hill.

“Experiences actually change dynamics,” said Dr. Anthony Jackson, Superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

The first two STEM Centers will be career exploration environments in which students will be exposed to a wide array of experiences which relate to local employers.

“STEM East has been a great partner for us,” added Jackson.

It is anticipated that the STEM Centers will be installed in summer 2015.

The NCEast Alliance is a regional, not-for-profit, economic development corporation serving approximately 1 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building and assists companies with site location and expansion evaluations. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or visit one of our workforce development sites (NCEast WorkReady Communities at www.ncworkready.org or STEM East at www.stemeast.org).