STEM education is the future, according to industry leaders and teachers

STEM education is the future, according to industry leaders and teachers

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Educators and businesses collided at Arkansas State University Monday at the Think Tank for STEM Partnership Conference.

Kindergarten through senior high-level teachers, college instructors and industry leaders met in Centennial Hall to open the lines of communication concerning STEM education and business.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Director for the Delta STEM Education Center, Cynthia Miller, said STEM is growing, and it's important to discuss what has changed in education and the workplace.

"We have seen such a technological revolution in the last 20 to 30 years, and it's only going to grow," Miller said. "So we need to prepare our students for that world."

Mechanical Engineer at Nucor, Eric Fulbright, knows that world very well. Fulbright said he's excited to be at the event because it allows everyone to learn more about their industry including what is good and bad.

"People that have worked in the field, how can they contribute to what the teachers do with the students every day," Fulbright said. "How can we better prep them for the education the students get while they are in that state?"

Fulbright said it is interesting to learn about what goes on in the classroom and offer real world advice to teachers.

Many at the conference agreed STEM is the future in almost any industry.

Executive director for the Arkansas STEM Coalition, Suzanne Mitchell, said more and more STEM jobs open every day, which shows the importance of gaining interest in the field.

"There's about 3 jobs for every 1 person wanting a job," Mitchell said. "You can pick your job if you have the right skills, and that's going to help the economic development of Arkansas."

STEM leaders said the industry continues to offer high paying jobs, giving great opportunities for females in the workforce.

Monday's conference coincided with the Arkansas Science Fair taking place this week at Arkansas State University.

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