Capital Region STEM Network

The Capital Region STEM Network was established in 2017 to organize school, business, and community organizations interested in enhancing career readiness and STEM learning opportunities in the region consisting of Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston counties.

Capital Region STEM Network

The Capital Region STEM Network was established in 2017 to organize school, business, and community organizations interested in enhancing career readiness and STEM learning opportunities in the region consisting of Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston counties.
Backbone Organization:
ESD 113 and RALLY
Lorie Thompson
Capital Region STEM Network Director

Overview

Despite the economic struggles throughout the region, businesses offer many STEM jobs for which our students are not qualified to pursue, especially our youth from rural communities, youth of color, youth with disabilities, and those impacted by poverty. The Capital regional community needs to build an innovative, well-qualified workforce to grow current businesses and attract businesses of the future.

The Capital Region STEM Network is committed to building a healthy, sustainable, collaborative regional infrastructure to enhance STEM learning opportunities so that all children in the region can look forward to a positive career.

STEM by the Numbers

Washington STEM’s annual STEM by the Numbers reports let us know if the system is supporting more students, especially students of color, students living in poverty and/or rural backgrounds, and young women, to be on track to attain high-demand credentials.

View the Pacific Mountain regional STEM by the Numbers report here.
For citations and references on this report, click here.

Programs + Impact

CAREER CONNECT WASHINGTON

Each area of our state is unique and STEM Networks know how to drive maximum impact in STEM for every student in their region. In 2020, the Capital Region Network received a $125,000 grant (including funds that emphasized rural and remote partnerships) to support collaborations with local businesses, nonprofits, and school districts that would create equitable access to career pathways opportunities for all youth.

Together, we have brought career awareness programs like the Classroom Robotics at Budd Bay workshops at the Puget Sound Estuarium, virtual internships in marine science through underwater ROV design, construction & experimentation; and endorsed career launch programs in diesel mechanics and business at Centralia College. These and other joint ventures support all youth in our region, from Kindergarten to graduation, to ensure access to the tools needed to attain a family-wage career in a STEM field.

BRIDGING THE GAP FROM K-12 TO CAREER

Our Network’s Second Annual Workforce Summit was held virtually in December 2020 to highlight some of the pathways opportunities in the Capital Region. Topics included Aligning CTE Coursework with Industry & College Pathways; Navigating the SBCTC Career Launch Endorsement Process; Growing Virtual Internship Programs for Youth; and Utilizing Registered Pre-Apprenticeships as Pathways to Family Wage Employment. Over 100 participants, including leaders from business and industry, policy, K12 and post-secondary education, non-profit, and philanthropy participated in this summit.

MOUNTAIN TO HARBOR LASER ALLIANCE

The Mountain to Harbor LASER Alliance, a part of the Capital STEM network, advocates for strong science and STEM instruction in the elementary grades, to prepare all students for secondary success and postsecondary STEM career pathways opportunities. In December the Network created a series of workshops for elementary administrator and teacher teams to support and encourage increased class time on science and STEM instruction, in addition to using content-integration strategies to make important connections between science, STEM and other curricular areas. As elementary students gain important STEM skills, elementary and secondary educators can strategically plan for better alignment, and mitigate systemic inequities for students of color, low income students, and young women who are passionate about future STEM careers. LASER (Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform) is a state science education program led by Washington STEM along with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Educational Service Districts, and the Logan Center for Education at the Institute for Systems Biology.

EARLY LEARNING IN THE CAPITAL REGION

Through an Early Math Innovations grant from Washington STEM, the Capital Region partnered with Math for Love to distribute Tiny Polka Dots math games to approximately 1800 rural and remote caregivers and young children in 2020. As a culminating activity, the Region held its first virtual Family Math Night event in January 2021 with families, educators and math experts engaged in learning math concepts through play. For the coming year, the Capital region continues its outreach to caregivers of young children, particularly in rural and remote communities, with additional early math events and activities with our partners: Paint to Learn, Block Fest Build-Off, and Math Anywhere.

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