Education Coalition forms to focus on STEM education

JAMESTOWN – The kick-off meeting of the Dream It Do It Education Coalition was held Oct. 10 at the Cummins Inc., Jamestown Engine Plant.

This coalition is a community-led initiative of business and community leaders as well as educators committed to developing, implementing and supporting learning in Chautauqua County.

The coalition’s initial goal is to develop a strategy to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education at the middle and high school levels. The coalition’s intent is to grow and leverage the existing Dream It Do It initiative which is active in many of the Chautauqua County School systems today. “Dream It DoIt” has established a framework to take this next important step toward imbedding more STEM education opportunities in the curriculum provided to many young minds in Chautauqua County,” stated David Porter, Plant Manager, Cummins Inc. “We are proud to be part of the education coalition along with businesses, educators and community leaders from throughout the County.”

“The formation of this coalition is the logical next step in our goal of developing an abundant technologically skilled workforce in Chautauqua County,” stated Todd Tranum, President/CEO of the Dream It Do It Western New York and also services as President/CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier. “The coalition consists of a great group of people and organizations that have the collective ability to make STEM education a more prominent component of our educational system.”

David O’Rourke, District Superintendent/Chief Executive Officer Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES stated, “this initiative’s timing is just right for the changes in curriculum that schools in our region are addressing. The Common Core State Standards will require deeper applications of student learning to real world situations. Moreover, the Board of Regents is considering new pathways for graduation, which will allow for more specialization in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. I’m pleased that manufacturers in our region are stepping up as willing partners to schools as they to prepare students for college studies and careers in STEM.”

Coalition goals:

Work with key community stakeholders to develop a strategy to improve STEM skills needed in advanced manufacturing and other technical careers

Reach students across the county to increase their awareness of manufacturing jobs in the region and improve their perception of those career opportunities

Increase student enrollment in these learning pathways

Develop a strategy that will address the current shortage of students entering STEM related learning pathways and degree programs

The second meeting was held Nov. 8, also at the Cummins Inc., Jamestown Engine Plant. Each of the following groups came prepared to share their perspectives on STEM education as well as identifying both opportunities and constraints to furthering STEM education opportunities:

Industry

School Districts

Foundations

Workforce Investment Board / Non-Profit

Community College