Help Prepare for Central Oregon’s Future Workforce


Central Oregon businesses asked to complete online survey to connect the k-12 system with more opportunities and resources to bring STEM into the classroom.

A Central Oregon coalition was recently awarded a grant to assess the state of science, technology, engineering and math education in the region. The STEM hub coalition, led by the High Desert Museum, Bend Science Station and Oregon State University-Cascades Campus with new participation from Central Oregon Tech Alliance, Looking Forward and Microsoft Research.

Rane Johnson, representing Central Oregon Tech Alliance, Looking Forward and Microsoft Research is encouraging Central Oregon Businesses to participate in the STEM Hub. “We are asking all employers, hiring managers and entrepreneurs in Central Oregon (Bend, LaPine, Redmond, Sisters, Prineville, Madras, Culver) to fill out this survey:”

Central Oregon’s schools, out-of-school education providers, and other resources represent an amazing array of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) learning opportunities. However, it is not clear if these opportunities represent a comprehensive set of opportunities that will build the interest and knowledge necessary to match Central Oregonians with STEM jobs into the near and distant future. Moreover, it is clear that not all Central Oregonians have equal access to those opportunities.

The role of the STEM hub is to develop and maintain a comprehensive view of STEM education in Central Oregon, identify gaps between opportunities in education and STEM jobs; serve as a connection point between learners, teachers, resources, and industry; and work with partners to fund and operate programs that address STEM education gaps. The ODE envisions a system of interconnected STEM hubs that operate at the regional level but share developing knowledge and resources at the state level, with the goal of advancing STEM literacy and career choices over time.

“In this first phase we’ll be looking at the needs in Central Oregon, in terms of how can we connect the K-12 system with more opportunities and resources to bring STEM into the classroom,” said Dana Whitelaw, president of the High Desert Museum. “Once we know all the holes that need to be filled, we’ll outline a plan for the next 12 months for the additional funding. It’s such an important part of where education is going right now, and we’re thrilled to be on the ground floor.”

It is not just tech companies but all companies in Central Oregon that need employees with STEM skills: creativity, collaboration, problem solving focused in areas of Sciences, Computer and Information Sciences, (I like to define Technology more than just consumers of technology but all the fields in which we produce the future innovations in technology) Engineering, Analytics and Mathematics.

When we think about jobs today, no matter what industry you are in technology is key enabler and technical employees with computer science skills are needed (developers, designers, testers, program managers, product managers, database and big data analyst, etc.). How can we be creative and better engage educators, parents, business leaders and students to the opportunities today and coming. We can think of creative ways to solve the problem but until we know the extent we can make practical action plans to make a difference.





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