Wanna see education systems in Georgia that are #winning? Ladies and gentleman, direct your eyes to the Technology Association of Georgia‘s awards, presented in Savannah on September 26th. The events awarded eight schools for integrating STEM studies into comprehensive programs “to promote and celebrate STEM Education in Georgia.” The awards are particularly useful to identify those schools working to narrow the skills gap that has come in vogue of late.
Mableton Elementary School was honored for infusing STEM studies into every facet of education, the private Cornerstone School won 2nd place in a STEM competition “hosted by the US Army Corps of Engineers,” and Ridgeland High School in Northwest Georgia designed a program that paired students in the STEM Academy with Georgia Tech mentors. Given that Georgia is home to the nation’s third best engineering school in the nation (behind the Air Force Academy and MIT), we can only hope more schools will take advantage of that resource.
Others were praised for hosting a most excellent STEM Day (Isle of Hope K-8), STEM Outreach to neighboring schools (Wheeler High School), and integrating STEM companies with post-secondary education (the Southern Nuclear Company and Augusta Technical College.) All of the above don’t require extraordinary resources as much as extraordinary foresight. Between our four nuclear reactors, aforementioned stellar engineering school, constant construction, and need for infrastructure, both the opportunities and demand for STEM education abound. 22,000 STEM jobs will be created in Georgia by 2019, according to TAG.
Five eighths of the recipient schools are in metro Atlanta, roughly in line with the state’s population. TAG made special effort to note schools in diverse and lower income districts (Mableton Elementary and Lake Forest Elementary), areas that could benefit most from a job-focused education. To our shame, we have the worst unemployment rate in the Union. It’s heartening and useful to notice schools and communities fighting for prosperity.