Dear Friends of The STEM Foundation,

Since you receive this newsletter, odds are you know the benefits of STEM education and career-connected learning. They offer area students greater opportunity to enter well-paying, satisfying careers that are in high demand locally, as well as nationally.

You also recognize how few of our region’s high school graduates (less than 40 percent) currently obtain the education degrees, apprenticeships, or certifications necessary to qualify for positions that require increasing technical skills.

With students returning to class in the most “normal” manner since 2019, demand for volunteers to expand career-connected learning programs is expected to significantly increase.

I’m asking for your help in addressing this opportunity--specifically, help in expanding the number of employers and professional groups engaging with students, both in and out of the classroom.

Many of our area’s major employers already provide volunteers for classroom visits or arrange job shadows and internships. They recognize the potential return on investment of their time in inspiring and equipping the future workforce. Students report awareness and interest in careers they hadn’t previously considered. But, we need to increase the involvement of medium and small businesses in order to expand the number and diversity of opportunities for our students. Professional and civic organization members can also volunteer for classroom interactions and mentoring.

As a supporter of STEM and career-connected learning, please consider what organization or individual in your network could become involved in helping students learn about promising careers. Then, contact them yourself or, if you wish, let us at the Foundation contact them to explore potential connections.

Southeastern Washington’s continuing growth as a national science and technology hub, regional health care provider and agricultural base, combined with its projected population increase, promises great employment opportunities for those prepared to seize them.

Thank you for your interest in and support of our region’s youth!

Matt Hammer
Board President
November is Career-Connected Learning Month!

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 15, 2022 to be part of the regional conversation as we explore innovative strategies to develop, recruit, and retain our future local workforce.

Washington state wins federal Good Jobs Challenge grant to support career-connected training for thousands of students

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration recently announced that Washington has won a $23.5 million Good Jobs Challenge grant to support Washington’s robust career-connected training system serving thousands of students across the state. These apprenticeship and technical training programs are a significant part of the state’s efforts to connect students to work-based learning programs that lead to paid work experience and good-paying jobs. 

This initiative builds upon Career Connect Washington's efforts in ten high-demand sectors:
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Clean Technology & Energy
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology & Cybersecurity
  • Life Sciences
  • Maritime

"Career-connected pathways are hugely popular, inclusive of communities underrepresented in the traditional talent pool, and are one of the most effective methods for responding to today’s workforce needs. Across every sector of the state’s economy, employers need to find talent, particularly in high-demand fields, and the Good Jobs Challenge grant will noticeably strengthen our ongoing efforts through Career Connect,” said Governor Jay Inslee.
To learn more about Career Connect Washington and Sector Intermediaries, click here.
To receive Career Connect Washington email news announcements and updates, click here.
Career-Connected Learning and Data Resources

CCW Career-Connected Learning Directory: A statewide tool designed to guide young people toward a job or career. For more information or support to have an event added to the directory, contact Jim Kindle, Career Connected Learning Coordinator, ESD 123.

CareerExploreNW: A community tool designed to guide people toward a job or career as well as help the region's employers create a talent pipeline.

Washington Workforce Portal: A free searchable database of available internships and work-based learning opportunities in Washington. Students can create a free account, plug in their resume, and immediately start searching and applying! Employers can post internships, apprenticeships, job shadowing and mentorship opportunities. To learn more, contact Brooke Myrland, Workforce & Education Manager, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Washington Career Bridge: The popular, public-facing career and education portal created and managed by the Workforce Board also features new videos on hundreds of careers courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor. Take the career quiz. Then catch a video and see if a new career might be right for you!

STEM by the Numbers: Washington STEM's report series offers both statewide and region-by-region analyses of the need for STEM talent and opportunities. The data helps create a through-line from classroom to career for Washington students.
Mid-Columbia STEM Nexus Initiative funding impacts local students

Thanks to the generous support of the Battelle Foundation and leadership by the PNNL Office of STEM Education, grants were awarded to five local education-focused organizations to enhance and expand STEM learning in our region. Below are brief highlights of the impact the Mid-Columbia STEM Nexus Initiative funding has provided to our region's students. To learn more or to invest into this initiative, click here.
The Mid-Columbia STEM Nexus Initiative awarded a one-year $50,000 grant to the Kennewick School District to promote and expand STEM learning in their schools. Through a multi-pronged approach, the district was able to purchase Mystery Science, a hands-on science curriculum that supports learning in English and Spanish, provide supplies and professional development for 55 teachers to bring the lessons to life in their classrooms, and also helped build STEM kits for schools to explore during family nights. 
After a two-year COVID-induced hiatus, Washington State University Tri-Cities relaunched Summer STEM Camps with the help of funds from a two-year Mid-Columbia STEM Nexus Initiative grant. Ten teachers from local schools participated in professional development activities the week before camp to learn new and innovative strategies to teach STEM content and then to use best practices to instruct the summer camp programs. Nearly 100 elementary students in 3rd through 5th grade participated in the week-long camp. Students explored the environment, the engineering and design process, computational thinking, coding, and art.
“I enjoyed engineering because I got to build a lot of fun things. I failed in some, but I laughed a lot and had fun.” - Student (4th Grade)
STEM Like ME!℠ is a suite of school-based programs, teacher grants, and professional development opportunities that broadens students’ awareness and perceptions of STEM careers and the coursework and skills necessary to pursue them. 
Created and led by The STEM Foundation, STEM Like ME!℠ programs
have inspired more than 28,000 students across Washington.
Below are highlights of the programs being presented during the 2022-23 school year:
STEM Like ME!℠ Explorer: Students meet with a series of STEM professionals, participate in engaging hands-on activities, learn about career pathways and begin to create their own vision of a rewarding and purposeful career path.
STEM Like ME!℠ Design: Students are introduced to a STEM professional who shares various engineering career options, their personal career pathway journey and what they like about their career. A design challenge competition is linked to the program to engage students beyond the classroom experience.
STEM Like ME!℠ School-Based Internship: Students work in small teams with host company staff and a classroom instructor to create and present solutions to a real-world challenge that correlates with classroom curriculum. The internship features in-class activities coupled with a workplace component.
STEM Like ME!℠ Empower: Students are provided with tools and training to identify personal strengths, interests, talents and traits that can impact career selection and satisfaction. Program ties closely with the state-required High School and Beyond Plan. Students interact with STEM professionals to see how their unique traits align with potential careers.
STEM Like ME!℠ Teacher Professional Development Series: An interactive session specifically developed to allow dialogue between educators and industry panelists. Through a series of small groups, educators are introduced to a host company, provided an overview of career options, and given resources to better understand the career opportunities and pathways that await the next-generation workforce.
STEM Like ME!℠ Grants for Teachers: The program supports pioneering K-12 educators who implement ideas that bring real-life STEM professionals as volunteers to the classroom, impacting career-connected learning in meaningful ways.
If you are interested in learning more about STEM Like ME!℠ programs, including hosting or volunteering during the 2022-2023 school year, please email Heather Tibbett, Program Manager, The STEM Foundation.
Check out STEM Like ME!SM in the classroom!
STEM Like ME!℠ Teacher Grants Making a Difference!
STEM Like ME!SM Teacher Grants offer innovative educators funding to support volunteer engagement and STEM-related, career-connected programming in the classroom. Grants are evaluated, awarded and administered through a partnership with the Dream Builders Educational Foundation.

During the 2021-22 school year, eight area teachers received grants. The resulting activities were as diverse and creative as the educators who designed them, and community volunteers were important to the efforts’ success. Here are a few highlights:

  • Energy Northwest engineers and SSC North America supercar builders shared their technical expertise and personal career journeys at Three Rivers Elementary School in Pasco. Their classroom visits were part of a “Powering the Future” project that challenged students to research various energy sources as alternatives to fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Then using grant-funded kits, the students built and tested solar-powered cars.
  • Grants awarded to two Hanford High School teachers allowed students to explore the STEM-related aspects of flight in their projects. In one, students used model rockets, engines and probes to gain experience with flight principles that could benefit them in any number of aviation-related careers. Tri-Cities Rocketeers Club members assisted in the project. In the second project, members of the school’s Falcon Flyers Club built and flew remote-control model airplanes. The Tri-Cities Remote Control Modelers Club aided the students.

Engaging working professionals in classroom or extra-curricular activities such as those funded by the STEM Teacher Grants is invaluable in providing students with hope and dreams of what life could be like as a STEM professional in the workplace.

If you, your company, professional society, or club is interested in helping local students learn and be inspired about rewarding careers, especially in STEM fields, please contact The STEM Foundation.

Applications for 2022-23 school year STEM Teacher grants will be available again in late September. Interested teachers should check with their school administration. 
Pictured: Jerod Shelby, founder and CEO of SSC North America, presenting to students at Three Rivers Elementary in Pasco.
The STEM Foundation
P.O. Box 1617
Richland, WA 99352
Phone: 509.420.9316