Tacoma STEAM Network
Tacoma STEAM Network
The Tacoma STEAM Learning Network was formed in 2017 in response to the skills gap partly responsible for more than 23,000 unfilled Washington jobs, most of which are in the STEM fields. This gap represents a promising opportunity in Tacoma, especially for students of color and those living in poverty.
They added an A for Arts to the STEM acronym, in line with the community’s belief that arts nurture creativity and problem-solving abilities. This network is aligned with Washington STEM’s priorities to foster partnerships, eliminate the duplication of work, and increase student achievement and impact.
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.
Programs + Impact
TEACHER EXTERNSHIP AND WORKSHOPS
The Tacoma STEAM Network partnered with West Sound STEM and Capital Region STEM Networks to continue our Powering Up Educators professional development series. Through this partnership, seven teachers and educators had a virtual hands-on experience and learned more about careers in Controls Technology. In addition, we held a STEM Cafe that focused on careers in Marine and Water Science as well as held a virtual Apprenticeship panel for sixty Tacoma Public School teachers and educators with our partners at Local 26 Union to demystify the stereotypes about the trades.
TACOMA STEAM BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE
The Tacoma STEAM Network launched the first ever Business Roundtable, a part of the local collective impact initiative. A group of 15 local industry leaders including City of Tacoma, US Army-JBLM, and Korsmo Construction have convened quarterly to discuss student pathways to local industries and careers, including apprenticeships, construction, military, healthcare, and others. This expanded level of engagement with our local economic leaders has led to greater alignment to career exploration and opportunities for our students.
CAREER CONNECTED LEARNING
Investments from the State of Washington’s Career Connected Learning Initiative have made a tremendous impact on our community’s youth serving organizations, allowing them to expand the number of students they serve and the variety of career exploration programs they offer. The Tacoma STEAM Network’s Career Connected Learning workgroup continues to play an integral role in our partners’ effort to connect students to a postsecondary and/or career pathway of best fit, including exploration with City of Tacoma’s Summer Jobs 253 program and College Success Foundation’s work around both Career Connect WA and Tacoma Public School’s High School & Beyond Plan.
Tacoma STEAM will partner with our Early Learning partners to host an early math workshop with an anticipated 150 caregiving adults with ZENO Math through our Building Connections Professional Development Workshops. This workshop will provide training, professional development credits, and ZENO math kits to early childcare providers and parents, specifically those serving low income students and students of color. We also launched a social media campaign promoting the “How Many” Math series, encouraging families to explore math concepts in and around their homes and environment.
LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT FOR LASER
Members of the STEAM Network successfully garnered support for LASER (Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform) funding from Pierce County Senator Steve Conway. Senator Conway filed and championed a budget proviso in 2020 which increased and fully funded the LASER program statewide. The Tacoma STEAM Network looks forward to working with the South Sound LASER Alliance to elevate student voices, provide rich science and STEM experiences in the classroom, and promote Career Connected Learning experiences in and out of the classroom.