By Ruthie Muller / November 12, 2018

STEM, ecosystems, and workforce development

What is STEM? Yes, it’s a group of letters that could stand for science, technology, engineering, and math. Or, if you are a part of the STEM East Network, STEM stands for Strategies That Engage Minds. No matter your definition of STEM, we’re all on the same page: STEM skills, and the dispositions that come along with acquiring those skills, will project students into the future. After all, students are the future workforce, and if schools and business join together, the result can be the closure of the skills and interest gap.

Knowledge is very important, but being able to do something with your knowledge is key.

Studies have shown that early engagement in STEM subjects inspires lifelong interest in STEM subjects. This can result only in success when looking at the statistics of the future of STEM occupations. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93 out of 100 STEM occupations have wages above the national average, and STEM occupations have seen above-average growth. A STEM classroom – particularly a Pitsco STEM classroom with career connections and unlimited hands-on learning opportunities – provides a learning environment in which kids have fun while developing the skills necessary to pursue a career in STEM fields in the future.

Bringing Key Leaders Together

There’s no substitute for hands-on education. We believe it. Educators believe it. Business and industry believe it. And businesses are eager to step up and support education when education listens and meets their needs in providing real-world, hands-on experiences. This was a recurring theme at the ACT® Workforce Summit in New Orleans this year. We heard from a variety of groups – economic development leaders, education leaders, business leaders – all in agreement that collaboration between these groups creates opportunity for all. And we’ve found success in bringing all these groups to the table.

Confirmation of this kind of wide-reaching collaboration continues in the development of STEM Learning Ecosystems. They’re popping up all over. According to stemecosystems.orgSTEM Learning Ecosystems provide the architecture for cross-sector learning, offering all young people access to STEM-rich learning environments so they can develop important skills and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math throughout preK-16.” There are 68 STEM Learning Ecosystems currently . . . and counting.

It’s our honor to provide support and products that make better hands-on, minds-on experiences more available and more equitable in STEM ecosystems including the KC STEM Alliance, NCEast Alliance, and the Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub.

Have a business, industry, and education success story? We’d love to hear it. Drop it below. Looking to develop partnerships or grow your ecosystem? Find some inspiration in our listed resources.

There’s no substitute for hands-on learning
STEM Occupations: Past, Present, and Future
Getting down to business
North Carolina uses work to get CTE students ‘future ready’”
NCEast Alliance
KC STEM Alliance


TOPICS: ADMINISTRATION & THOUGHT LEADERSHIP, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Collaborations, Trends, Future Ready, 21st Century Skills, WorkKeys, STEAM, Workforce Development

Ruthie Muller

Written by Ruthie Muller

As a teacher, I liked wearing different hats: counselor, coach, creator, friend. The last 12+ years at Pitsco have given me this same opportunity. I’ve written curricula, trained teachers, managed people, directed creative projects, and even acted in a video and recorded voiceover! My recent hats include leading company initiatives, guiding department strategy, working with Pitsco’s portfolio of curriculum systems, serving on several boards, and volunteering in the community. But the hats I cherish the most are being a mom and wife.