Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

group of leaders at a banquet tableStudents and their families will soon have access to a website that maps the location of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities in the Upstate, thanks to the efforts of the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative comprised of industry and education representatives. The mapping tool, which is being designed by Clemson University and the SC Coalition for Mathematics and Science, will be launched in January and will be the first of its kind in the nation.

group of leaders looking at a poster“What if you could go to one place and type in a zip code and wanted to find a STEM learning opportunity for your six and eight-year-old? Wouldn’t it be cool if your business could offer internships for students with an interest in STEM?” asked Tom Peters from the South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics and Science during an interactive idea-sharing forum held this week.

The Collaborative, with Michelin, GE Power and Water, and Fluor as its founding partners, also announced that Nan Dempsey will assume duties as the first director, overseeing the task of expanding STEM opportunities for schools and businesses to work together. The SC STEM collaborative has an initial focus in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Pickens counties, and plans to go statewide.

female speaking at a podiumThe planning for the expansion of STEM opportunities began two years ago when a group of Upstate businesses, Greenville County Schools, and colleges and universities met to discuss how to get students excited about STEM careers and provide them with the tools they need to prepare for jobs in STEM fields.

“Business and industry are telling us they have jobs out there, but they don’t have enough people to fill those positions,” said Nan Dempsey. “The world of work is about solving problems, and industry need employees who have the technical expertise, can solve problems, and can work with others in a collaborative manner.”

Additional partners in the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative are Clemson University, Furman University, Greenville Tech, Milliken, Lockheed Martin, ADEX Machining Technologies, 3M, Roper Mountain Science Center, the United Way of Greenville County, and Spartanburg School District 7.

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