(SPOKANE, Wash.) – Spokane STEM recently received $150,000 from Washington STEM in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, which will be used to develop and expand opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth in Career Connected Learning (CCL) over the next two years. Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) staffs the Spokane STEM Network and is helping to lead this grant funding by convening a variety of community partners.
GSI has a long history of engaging business and education partnerships through their Business AfterSchool and Teaching the Teachers programs that highlight high-demand STEM careers in our region's businesses. To expand and connect CCL opportunities in our region, GSI's Education & Workforce team member Cassidy Baumgartner has been promoted to Career Connected Learning Program Manager.
The new funding will also be used to modernize the existing Access 2 Experience (A2E) digital platform which acts as a match.com for educators and business professionals. A2E is a technology platform managed locally by tech company Seven2. The upgrade of A2E will work to increase the number of connections between educators and business professionals to provide more CCL opportunities for middle and high school students as well as out of school youth.
The efforts of this investment from Washington STEM will work together with public funding from Governor Inslee's statewide Career Connect Washington initiative, expecting to benefit 29,000 youth through 2019. The public funding is regionally recognized as Career Connect Spokane and was awarded to Spokane Area Workforce Development Council. This funding specifically works to expand registered apprenticeship programs while putting a new focus on youth registered apprenticeships for our region.
Together, the Spokane STEM Network and the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council led the local application teams, which brought together businesses, schools, apprenticeships, community and technical colleges, and local youth organizations to connect young people with local employers.
All partnerships continue to work together to advance this work in our community for the benefit of our economy and talent pipeline.
"Developing talent in STEM fields is a key economic driver for businesses in our region," said Meg Lindsay, Spokane STEM Network Director. "The Career Connect Spokane partnership highlights pathways for our youth to earn and learn while training for careers that provide good living wages.
"This investment supports our goals of providing youth and adults with opportunities to learn in-demand skills and start careers in growing sectors of our economy." stated Mark Mattke, Chief Executive Officer of the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council.