Career Connect Southeast

Career Connect Southeast connects partners across sectors to create funding, possibility, and projects in the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas.

Career Connect Southeast

Career Connect Southeast connects partners across sectors to create funding, possibility, and projects in the Tri-Cities and surrounding areas.
Backbone Organization: Washington State STEM Education Foundation
Deb Bowen
Career Connect Southeast Network Director


Career Connect Southeast:

  • Builds bridges to connect STEM resources to students, teachers and our community;
  • Expands career connected learning experiences;
  • Advances the Mid-Columbia as a national leader in STEM literacy.

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 Southeast regional STEM by the Numbers report here.

Program + Impact


The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) provided $495,000 for agricultural equipment through the Career Connect Washington Career Launch program. The new equipment at Columbia Basin College (CBC) will serve multiple purposes given the widespread use of precision agriculture and hydroponics throughout our region. A thorough understanding of modern technologies is essential for our students to succeed in their future careers as crop advisors, irrigation specialists, agricultural technicians and mechanics, farm managers, consultants and more.

The new equipment will support coursework in CBC’s new Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Agriculture Production degree program as well as the existing Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture Administration degree program. The AAS in Agriculture Production degree was just endorsed by the SBCTC in May 2020. It is part of expanded agricultural offerings designed to serve the workforce needs of a host of major agricultural employers in the region, including J.R. Simplot Company, ConAgra Foods and Lamb Weston. The equipment includes a customized multi-crop research harvester, a windrower, hay baler, two hydroponics systems, a disc, packer, irrigation system and control panel, and two agricultural drones with sensors and digital imaging capabilities to collect data on crop yields, plant health, soil quality, nutrient measurements and more. The drones also will be available to CBC’s engineering and computer science departments to educate students in how drone technology works in surveying, mapping and cybersecurity.


More than 200 regional business leaders, educators, parents and students met virtually in November to discuss how to help students better prepare for and take advantage of future career opportunities.

Attendees at the region’s annual Southeastern Washington Future Workforce Summit learned about regional workforce and career connected learning challenges and opportunities. The day-long event included seven fifty-minute sessions that showcased 19 different organization and career-connected partnerships. Topics ranging from strengthening pathways and breaking down cultural barriers for college and career success, to employer engagement opportunities in building a career connected learning network in the region were covered. Collaborations between K-12, higher education, and leading business sectors in the community were explored, including internship opportunities and skilled trades programs. In all, 22 panelists, along with six session moderators, offered their talent, expertise, and varied experiences to highlight regional partnerships and commitments that advance a future-ready workforce in the southeast.

We had overwhelmingly positive responses, along with numerous requests from educators and business, for copies of the recorded sessions. We have made the sessions available on the Network’s YouTube channel.


Career Connect Southeast leadership completed an analysis of the current early learning landscape in the region and identified public messaging to Hispanic families via radio as an immediate opportunity. This messaging will be focused on the importance of early learning and early STEM. The network continues to work closely with regional and state leaders on a strategy for on-going, meaningful engagement.

STEM STORIES See All Stories
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