WASHINGTON STEM 2019 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
When it comes to getting meaningful legislation passed, it takes a village, and our advocacy efforts embody that. We want to give a huge thank you to our 80-person policy committee composed of our STEM Networks and their local partners, as well as nonprofit, business, community, and education partners throughout the state. We also want to thank our state legislators who worked days, evenings, and weekends to craft legislation and a budget that provides strong opportunities for Washington students.
Our advocacy efforts resulted in two big wins for Washington students:
- HB2158 establishes a competitive grant program that will allow community organizations, like our STEM Networks, to apply for resources that are dedicated to creating more career connected learning experiences so that students can explore, engage, and launch into careers in their communities.
- HB2140 creates a full-time position at each Educational Service District (ESD) in Washington to support the expansion of career connected learning into every community in Washington. These new positions will strengthen the educations systems that support our students and provide local expertise and connections for regional career opportunities.
So what does our advocacy work look like in action? Here’s a brief snapshot:
For our annual Advocacy Day on Feb 27, we were joined by 40 representatives from our STEM Networks and their community and business partners to hold 70+ meetings with policymakers and their staff. We used those meetings to highlight how Washington STEM and our STEM Networks are creating meaningful impact and change for students, families, and communities across the state
Dr. Andy Shouse, our chief program officer, was invited to provide an expert briefing to the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.
Dr. Jenée Myers Twitchell, our impact director, was invited to provide an expert briefing to the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.
On April 1, we joined more than 50 partners from across the state to support the Career Connect Washington legislation and showcase why it is a great investment in students and in our economy.
Education, business, and community partners from across the state stood in support of our priorities and the priorities of our STEM Network partners.
- Susan Mullaney, President of Kaiser Permanente Washington, shared her thoughts on how the legislature can create the supports needed so students can connect with STEM and healthcare career pathways.
- Kevin Chase, Superintendent of ESD 105 and life-long Yakima resident, shared how STEM and career connected learning are vital to rural students and how the South Central STEM Network is connecting local employers to schools and students.
- Todd Mielke, CEO of Greater Spokane. Inc, showed us how their partnership with the Spokane STEM Network is strengthening career connected learning partnerships between employers and educators in Spokane and the surrounding areas.
- Perry England, VP of Building Performance at MacDonald-Miller, and Robb Andrade, Branch General Manager at Siemens Corporation, showcased the need for more career connected learning experiences on the Kitsap Peninsula and how their partnership with the West Sound STEM Network is creating opportunity for local communities.
- Stela Heuschkel, Human Resources Director of Chemi-con, an advanced manufacturer in Moses Lake, highlighted her partnership with the Apple STEM Network and how together they’re connecting students and families to STEM careers.
We’re excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish in 2019, but we’re already looking ahead to 2020 to build upon these successes and continue to push for equity, access, and opportunity in STEM education for Washington students.