Career Connect Southwest

Focused on the Vancouver, WA area, Career Connect Southwest works to ensure all students in the region have the knowledge, skills, and experiences that unlock futures, a prosperous economy, and innovation.

Career Connect Southwest

Focused on the Vancouver, WA area, Career Connect Southwest works to ensure all students in the region have the knowledge, skills, and experiences that unlock futures, a prosperous economy, and innovation.
Vickei Hrdina
Director of STEM Initiatives, Career Connect Southwest


Career Connect Southwest is working to ensure that every student in the region has the knowledge, skills, and experiences that can unlock futures, build a globally engaged community, ensure a prosperous economy, and inspire innovation.

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 Career Connect Southwest’s STEM by the Numbers report here.
For citations and references on this report, click here.

Programs + Impact

A few of Career Connect Southwest’s accomplishments are listed below.

$500,000 Computer Science Grant for our students in SW Washington! 

In 2017, Washington STEM, in partnership with Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), announced the first round of $4 million in grants to statewide schools, school districts, educational service districts, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and community based organizations to support computer science education. ESD112 was awarded one of these competitive grants which will make it possible for professional development for teachers, obtainment of technology, and the expansion of computer science course offerings and programs throughout SW Washington. Grant recipients must have partnered with private organizations and individuals to be eligible for the grant from OSPI. Because the STEM Network has developed a partnership with the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Clark County to put on the education component of the Digital Technology Expo, the ESD112 was able to leverage this event as part of the private match which helped ESD112 secure the $500,000 Computer Science Grant for our students in SW Washington.

Over 2,500 area students attended STEM Networking events to spark interest in STEM Careers!

During the 2015-16 School Year, Future Connect’s program partnered with more than 100 businesses and governmental organizations to provide a variety of College and Career Related activities to more than 2,500 middle and high school students. Future Connect activities include individual experiences like informational interviews as well as group activities at schools where community professionals visited and shared career information in “speed networking”, guest speaking, and mock interviewing events.


Over 250 area high school students networked with local area STEM professionals at the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Tech Expo.

In April of 2016 the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) partnered with the STEM Network and Leadership Clark County to organize an “Educational Preview” that kicked off the first annual GVCC Digital Technology Expo. Some of the best-and-brightest from the Vancouver, Evergreen, Camas and Hockinson School Districts attended the Expo in the morning to participate in this unique chance to see the vibrant digital technology industry emerging in SW Washington. Students were able to network with over 50 tech business and community organizations that support our region’s vibrant digital technology industry. Because of the tech expo and the work of the GVCC, the STEM Network was able to utilize the event as the private match for a $500,000 Computer Science Education Grant provided by OSPI and WA STEM. The grant will be able expand the number of K-12 students who will receive Computer Science instruction in SW Washington. Additionally, the expo increased business engagement in K-12 educational programs with 40% of the participating businesses expressing interest in getting more involved in supporting K-12 STEM Education within our local school districts.

Coding Professional Development

In Career Connect Southwest’s Network, 38 elementary school teachers and 32 middle school teachers received professional development in delivering integrating coding and programming. This resulted in an additional 5,500 students in SW Washington receiving coding and programming instruction.

STEM STORIES See All Stories
Earth-to-Space: It's the West Sound STEM Network
On December 12 1,000 students from the West Sound STEM Network spoke with NASA astronauts living, working and doing research aboard the International Space Station.
Inslee awards $6 million to create apprenticeship and career connections for 29,000 youth in 11 communities
STEM learning experiences, job shadows, career planning, internships, and apprenticeships become available thanks to new Career Connect Washington grant funding.
Kaiser Permanente: Supporting STEM, Educating Our Future Health Care Workforce
Susan Mullaney, President of Kaiser Permanente Washington, speaks on the importance of equality in STEM education and the positive impact it has on health care workforce development at the 2017 Washington STEM Summit at Microsoft.
STEM Like ME! introduces students to real STEM
Inspiring students to pursue careers in engineering starts in the classroom. STEM Like ME! empowers teachers to introduce STEM professionals into the classroom to educate students about what careers are available to them.
Support STEM