The Great Lakes Bay Region is driven by a STEM-focused economy. The region has several large STEM employers, each with a heavy emphasis on manufacturing or healthcare. Roughly 38 percent of the region’s economic output is driven by those two industries. A tradition of strength in science and manufacturing gives the Great Lakes Bay Region a head start in the race to STEM excellence. Few areas of the nation offer the fertile soil for STEM strength that can be found here.
The Great Lakes Bay Region has an opportunity to be a national leader in developing a pipeline of talent in science, technology, engineering and math that drives regional prosperity. This STEM talent can propel existing businesses as well as attract new organizations that need people with STEM skills. The key to that leadership is enlightened cooperation between employers and the many people who are dedicated to training the workforce of tomorrow. Such region-wide, cross-functional cooperation is virtually unheard of around the country, giving the Great Lakes Bay Region the ability to take the lead in this game-changing area.
Learn more about the STEM Pipeline here
REGIONAL STEM NETWORK
One key conclusion of the 2014 STEM Impact Initiative Study was that the Great Lakes Bay Region’s STEM talent pipeline focus on four important characteristics. To be successful, the study said, STEM programming should be:
• Driven by Employer Demand
• Powered by Career-Ready and College-Ready Students
• Focused on Strengthening Technical Skills Needed for the Economy
• Sustained by a Culture of STEM
In order to make that happen, the study recommended creation of several regional networks, each with a specific focus, each bringing together people from the business, education and public service sectors. There are three networks centered at higher education institutions in the region, driving improvement in STEM opportunities linked to the four characteristics identified in the study.
MICAREERQUEST MIDDLE MICHIGAN
Employers are learning about opportunities to bring heavy equipment, simulators, tools, and hands-on exhibits to a new career exploration event for area middle and high schoolers.
Called MiCareerQuest Middle Michigan, the event will take place October 30, 2019 at the SVSU Ryder Center, drawing 10,000 students from an 11-county area including Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Iosco, Midland, Ogemaw, Roscommon and Saginaw.
Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! and Michigan Works! 7B are leading the creation of the massive MiCareerQuest Middle Michigan event and are working with over 90 employers to prepare engaging exhibits. The goal of the event is to create an experience unlike any other career and college-readiness event – with interactive, hands-on, informational and inspiring career opportunities delivered directly to students from working professionals in high-demand industries.
REGIONAL STEM PASSPORT COMBATS EQUITY ISSUES
Over 34,000 students in the region benefitted from the first Early Childhood STEM Passports distributed in 8 counties (Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, and Saginaw). As part of the GLBR STEM Impact Initiative and national STEM Learning Ecosystems project, the Alliance is focused on STEM learning quality and opportunities both in-school and out-of-school. An “Out-of-School Time STEM Network” comprised of before and after school programs, community-based STEM programs, and STEM-rich institutions (i.e., museums, zoo, planetarium, arts and cultural centers, etc.) meets regularly to connect and align resources, while fostering a culture of STEM for our Region.
Recognizing that some children do not have equal access to STEM assets, the Out-of-School Time Network convened a STEM Access/Equity Committee to identify and implement strategies to mitigate access & equity issues. The idea of a STEM Passport began after attending the U.S. News & World Report STEM Conference in the spring of 2017. Melisse May and Mary Adams of the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative shared the passport concept with Matthew Felan, President and CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, and the local committee felt a STEM Passport could increase awareness and reduce financial barriers related to accessing our regional STEM-rich institutions and programs.
FUNDING IS KEY
The job is not done, however. The Initiative continues to explore opportunities to build on the region’s STEM strength, and seizing some opportunities will depend on finding the needed funding.
Another important form of support comes from individuals and organizations that contribute time, talent and passion to STEM efforts. The local chapter of the American Chemical Society, for instance, has about 650 members who serve Midland, Bay, Saginaw, Gratiot, and Isabella counties. These scientific professionals, teachers, and others interested in science, technology, engineering, and math take part in a range of community outreach activities. Similarly, the region’s chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers is active in STEM support, including hosting an annual Science Bowl that quizzes students on their knowledge and rewards their achievements.
Employees from several local companies also work with students in a variety of ways that allow them to share their passion and insight with future generations.