CORNING — Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds visited Southwest Valley High School and held a southwest Iowa region STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) town hall meeting Tuesday in Corning to discuss advances STEM has made in education and career opportunities.
Branstad and Reynolds spoke about the STEM advisory council established in 2011, and how the council has worked to allocate funding to school districts across Iowa to allow teachers to offer exploratory learning involving hands-on projects.
“Every single school district is participating one way or another,” Reynolds said. “The best part of all is the kids demonstrating the programs. And, watch how excited and engaged they are, and how they’re learning and communicating together.”
Reynolds also said STEM began with 40,000 students using the different available programs, but that number has increased to more than 100,000 students in Iowa.
“STEM job creation is expected to outpace non-STEM jobs significantly in the coming years, actually growing 17 percent versus 9.8 percent for non-STEM jobs, and STEM workers earn a higher salary, 26 percent higher,” Reynolds said.
Branstad and Reynolds were joined by Chris Russell, Google data center operations manager in Council Bluffs, who represented the business facet of STEM programs in Iowa.
During the meeting, students from Enarson and Corning elementary schools, Southwest Valley Middle School and Southwest Valley High School presented projects made possible using STEM funds.
Projects included ones focused on weather, ecosystems, motion and robotics.