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Grant Awarded to Help Connect Rural K-12 Students to Future Career Opportunities

(SPOKANE, Wash.) – The Spokane STEM Network, housed within Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) and serving NorthEast Washington Educational Service District (ESD) 101,  in partnership with the Apple STEM Network at North Central ESD 171, has been awarded a collective $50,000 Career Connect Washington grant to connect K-12 students living in rural and remote communities to career pathways, career and technical education programs and to local employers.

These grant funds will support a series of virtual career fairs for high school Career and Technical Education students for six weeks in October-November 2020. Employers and career programs can set up virtual booths for students to be able to explore and chat directly with employers.

There are further plans to engage younger students in career exploration events in February-March 2021. Targeted communities for this work across ESD 101 and ESD 171 include Lincoln, Stevens, Adams, Whitman, Ferry, Pend Oreille, Grant, Douglas, Chelan and Okanogan counties. Students in these districts face lower course and special program offerings, and other barriers that inherently prevent them from learning about career pathways due to sheer access and connectivity.  

“Creating career connected learning opportunities that meet students where they’re at is critical as virtual learning models continue to be adopted and widespread,” said Cassidy Peterson, Executive Director for Spokane STEM. “Thousands of students usually participate in large, in-person career events this time of year, which just won’t happen this year. We are excited to reach more students outside of Spokane County who ultimately play an important role in our state’s comprehensive economic recovery efforts.”

Career path exploration and career connected learning programs are part of GSI’s larger education and talent portfolio that builds, champion’s and retains a talented workforce to strengthen our economy.

Students and educators who are interested in learning more or participating can contact Maria Vigil, GSI’s Career Connected Learning Program manager, at mvigil@greaterspokane.org or 509.321.3649.

About Greater Spokane Inc.

Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) is the Spokane region’s business development organization. GSI creates the place where organizations come together to advocate for the region, drive strategic economic growth, and champion a talented workforce. GSI is funded through a combination of private and public investment, including nearly 900 private-sector members; Spokane County; Washington State Department of Commerce; and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Deer Park, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, Medical Lake, Millwood, Newport, and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. For more information, visit greaterspokane.org.

About Spokane STEM

The Spokane STEM Network is supported by Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) in partnership with the NorthEast Washington Education Service District 101 (NEWESD 101). Spokane STEM works to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education opportunities for youth throughout the Spokane region to reduce the STEM skills gap and grow the economy. For more information, visit spokanestem.org.

About Career Connect Washington

Career Connect Washington was created by Governor Jay Inslee, with support and funding provided by the Washington State Legislature, to provide our state’s young people with expanded opportunities to gain real-world experience through a fully integrated career connected learning system. Business, labor, educators, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and many others have come together to create a strategy for making these opportunities available in every part of our state to every student as part of their academic journey. For more information, visit careerconnectwa.org.

About Apple STEM

The Apple STEM Network is a regional alliance of K-12, Higher Ed and community partners in North Central Washington. The network represents a diverse region with tremendous potential for STEM industry in agriculture, energy and innovation. The collective efforts intend to provide a constructive support system for educators who aim to meet the rising challenge for all students to develop 21st century skills and STEM literacy, to integrate community mentorship and promote authentic project-based learning and field experiences for all levels of education, and engage students in exploring the world of opportunities on the horizon through STEM. For more information, visit applestemnetwork.org.

About the North Central Educational Service District

The North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) is a resource to the 29 school districts within a four-county service area, providing professional and timely tools to meet the needs of individual schools and districts, and a reliable point of education-related information for the communities served. The NCESD is a respected resource to other ESDs throughout Washington State. For more information, visit ncesd.org.

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