Waukee APEX Named One of 10 New STEM BEST Partners
The Iowa Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council named Waukee APEX one of 10 new STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Partners in Iowa.
STEM BEST Partners go beyond the typical K-12 classroom environments and methods to provide students with more workplace experience while they are still in school. STEM BEST Partners are awarded based on how they carve a clear path for students between STEM education to STEM careers in the state.
The Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) program carves this path by offering unique opportunities for Waukee High School students to gain experience and bolster their resumes in a professional, highly collaborative environment.
“The impact of this experience for our student associates is so valuable,” said APEX program director Michelle Hill. “Some of the top takeaways by students include the networking opportunities with industry professionals, direction for college and career opportunities, motivation when working on real projects of value for business partners, learning the expectations in a professional environment, and communication and presentation confidence.”
Whether it’s helping a curriculum team develop a course, sponsoring a value-added learning project or hosting a course, Waukee APEX provides the flexibility for business partners to customize their level of involvement. Through this revolutionary collaboration, the APEX program specifically tailors courses to fit the interests of students while adding value to businesses.
“The experiences students receive in our APEX program cannot be replicated in a classroom,” said Waukee Community School District superintendent David Wilkerson. “APEX is grounded in STEM and central Iowa high demand, high skilled jobs. Our programming helps create an early talent pipeline and assists Des Moines area businesses in meeting workforce needs.”
Students create lasting relationships through the APEX program by networking with real industry professionals, creating opportunities not only for the businesses but also for themselves as they become better prepared for college.
“APEX courses are the most valuable learning experience available,” said junior Evan Dosedel. “Any student with an opportunity to take part in APEX of a similar program should without a doubt get involved.”
The STEM Council’s executive committee voted unanimously to award and support 10 of 14 proposed partnerships that bring to the table a total cost-share commitment of $566,234 and more than 60 business and community partners. Nearly $250,000 in STEM Council investment is made possible through a combination of state and private funds and is divided equally among these 10 awardees to purchase equipment and provide teacher training:
- Assumption High School, Davenport — Southeast STEM Region
- Boone High School — North Central STEM Region
- Fort Madison Community High School — Southeast STEM Region
- IKM-Manning Community School District — Southwest STEM Region
- Muscatine Community School District — Southeast STEM Region
- North Cedar Elementary School, Cedar Falls — Northeast STEM Region
- Spencer High School — Northwest STEM Region
- Story County Consortium (Ames, Ballard, Collins-Maxwell, Colo-NESCO, Gilbert, Nevada, and Roland-Story School Districts) — North Central STEM Region
- Waukee APEX — South Central STEM Region
- West Delaware County Community School District — Northeast STEM Region
About Waukee APEX
Through a collaboration between education, business, and the community, Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) develops highly skilled, adaptable, global innovators and leaders. Waukee APEX draws on the expertise of business partners to bring real world experience to high schoolers. Through passion-based learning, authentic projects and experiences, students add value to business partners while exploring career possibilities identified by economic trends within our metro area and state.
About the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council
Established in July 2011 via Governor’s Executive Order, the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a public-private partnership of educators, companies and Iowa students and families addressing policies and programs designed to improve Iowa’s educational system focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The STEM Council works to engage and prepare students for a career-ready workforce path, regain the state’s historic leadership position in education and provide a vital competitive economic advantage now, and for the future, to ensure that every Iowa student has access to world-class STEM education opportunities. The 47-member STEM Council is chaired by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson. For more information, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov.