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30730904731_1b59df4e29_oOn Tuesday, November 1, Lt. Governor Polito joined STEM leaders, including STEM Council Co-Chair Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III and about 1,400 educators, employers, and policy-makers at the DCU Center. The annual Massachusetts STEM Summit promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education and workforce development from early childhood through adulthood. Presentations, exhibits, and networking around STEM opportunities and sharing successful programs and activities were the foundation of the summit.

Worcester’s Telegram & Gazette has more about the event:

The Massachusetts STEM Summit mapped out ideas to start education before kindergarten, amp up teacher training and connect colleges and universities to employers.

The recurring theme is that good jobs exist but too few people have the qualifications to fill them, said Eric S. Heller, deputy director of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, which sponsored the 13th annual event.

“In all these years, there’s been tremendous headway in the state,” Mr. Heller said. “There’s no one here who needs to be convinced … Yet we keep hearing from the business world they need more qualified people to hire.”

“Despite all of the progress we’ve made, we do not have the luxury of resting on our laurels,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito during her remarks at the STEM Summit’s luncheon plenary. “The rapidly changing shape of our economy and society at large is demanding ever higher levels of academic preparation – especially in STEM fields. To compete in a global environment, the state’s innovation based economy demands an educated competitive, highly skilled workforce.”

As the Lt. Governor noted, there is good news — the Commonwealth has been gradually ramping up its focus on STEM education for the past decade. The collective impact of these efforts has helped raise awareness about the importance of STEM education, not just for our strengthening our economy, but for opening doors of opportunity to our young people – especially those who come from underserved communities.

Among the initiatives highlighted by Lt. Governor was the creation of the Workforce Skills Cabinet within the Baker-Polito Administration. The Workforce Skills Cabinet brings together the Secretaries of Labor and Workforce Development, Housing and Economic Development, and Education. Among the assignments for this Cabinet was to produce a plan for addressing the Commonwealth’s skills gap. Central to this effort, is the development of a comprehensive approach to career and technical education, with a particular focus on STEM fields.

“A strong system of career development education, with a focus on growing STEM fields, is one of the most important levers we have, not only to create opportunity for thousands of young people throughout the Commonwealth, but also to strengthen our economy,” continued Lt. Governor Polito. “We already have a solid foundation of schools and programs; we now have the opportunity to build a truly world-class system.”

To advance high-quality STEM pathways , the STEM Council is focused on four areas:

  1. Expanding STEM-related Internships for high school students
  2. Developing and implementing STEM early college career pathways
  3. Broadening access to high-quality computer science and engineering curricula
  4. Strengthening and aligning the work of the Regional STEM Networks, all of whom are represented here today

Lt. Governor Polito ended her remarks with a challenge to business leaders to hire one or more promising high school students for an internship in a STEM-related field.

“Internship opportunities in STEM fields for high school students are so vital,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “In addition to providing new experiences for students, these internships offer companies the chance to develop their own workforce and create a rich pipeline of skilled employees.”

Those looking to learn more about high school STEM internship opportunities and how you can get involved are encouraged to contact the STEM Council directly.

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