Waukee Innovation & Learning Center Named STEM BEST Program

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council announced 12 STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program partners for the 2022-2023 academic year. The program encourages collaboration between schools and businesses to develop outstanding STEM coursework curriculum that prepares students for STEM careers and emphasizes the necessary skills required in today’s workforce.

The Waukee Innovation & Learning Center is one of 12 program partners for the upcoming year. This grant will support the APEX EMT program, scheduled to serve two sessions of students this coming fall.

“Waukee APEX is proud to partner with the STEM Advisory Council,” says Michelle Hill, Waukee’s Director of Work-Based Learning. “Together we are able to grow our work-based learning opportunities and provide incredible opportunities for our students.”

With the addition of 12 projects, 147 new or expanded partnerships have been created since STEM BEST launched in 2014. The STEM Best Program supports school-business partnerships that allow teachers and industry professionals to work together on curriculum and projects that provide students with firsthand experience in an industry or business environment. It also allows businesses to introduce students to the available career opportunities.

“High-demand STEM jobs in Iowa have grown by 10 percent in just the last two years, and are expected to double by 2029, “ said Jeff Weld, executive director of the STEM Council. “Our STEM BEST partners are producing the wave of talent the state needs to remain competitive and economically vibrant.”

The STEM Council Executive Committee voted unanimously to award 12 new or expanded partnerships up to $25,000 each. Participating employer partners contribute to a dollar-for-dollar match with some going above and beyond the cost-share requirement. The awards can be used for the curriculum development and coordination, educator training and development in workplace-classroom integration and preparing the work-based learning environment.

The 2022 STEM BEST Program awardees are:

  • Cedar Rapids Community School District – High School
  • MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District – Hospers Elementary School
  • MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District – High School
  • Muscatine Community School District – High School
  • Sioux Center Community School District – Middle School and High School
  • Starmont Community School District – Elementary and Middle School
  • Storm Lake Community School District – Early Elementary School
  • Turkey Valley Community School District – Junior and Senior High School
  • Waukee Community School District – Innovation and Learning Center
  • West Des Moines Community School District – High School
  • Woodbine Community School District – Elementary School
  • Woodbine Community School District – High School

“The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is appreciative of the time and support that educators and businesses partners offer to help incorporate career-linked learning in the classroom,” said Weld. “It’s exciting to see the STEM BEST Program continue to grow and the impact it has on students and local employers as a result of the collaboration.”

To be considered for a STEM BEST Program award, applicants were required to submit a comprehensive proposal that incorporates rigorous and relevant STEM curriculum, valuable partnerships with community businesses or organizations, real-world learning opportunities and expertise at the post-secondary education and training level. These awardees will serve as a model to share unique perspective, strengths, demographics and program focus with other schools throughout Iowa. Visit www.IowaSTEM.org/STEMBEST for more information on the STEM BEST Program and the 147 partners.