Chief Education Officer Announces Regional STEM Hub Grantees
Salem, OR - Chief Education Officer Dr. Nancy Golden announced today that the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) and the Oregon Department of Education have awarded grants totaling $2.8 million dollars to six regional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Hubs representing 21 counties in Oregon.
The STEM Hub concept was designed to acknowledge the pockets of excellence in STEM learning throughout Oregon and connect them to create a supportive statewide network for implementation of programming and sharing of best practices throughout the state.
“As we increasingly move towards regional models of collaboration throughout the state, STEM Hubs are designed to charge communities with taking collective responsibility for ensuring students are literate in key subject areas we know to be vital in today’s economy. As the demands for the workforce evolve, STEM learning, and connected routes to a future career are among the most significant opportunities to put students on a path to a prosperous future,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Nancy Golden.
In the past ten years, STEM jobs have grown three times faster than non-STEM jobs, and this pace is expected to continue throughout the next decade. Meanwhile, state test scores of 8th grade math proficiency show more than half of Oregon African American and Latino students not meeting state benchmarks; science scores are slightly better, though still hover around 50% of students from communities of color meeting the benchmark.
The Regional STEM Hubs will foster 21st century STEM career skills and provide for student populations that have historically been underserved and underrepresented throughout the state. “Literacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics holds tremendous opportunity for our students. This is especially true for students from communities of color,” said Golden.
Funding for the regional hubs was proposed by the Oregon Education Investment Board as a key strategic investment to support Oregon’s attainment of the 40/40/20 goal. The Legislature passed House Bill 3232 which included funding for developing Regional STEM Hubs that would also support Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) & Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and/or activities. Beyond the $2.8 million dollars invested in selected hubs, additional funds have been set aside to support the unfunded applicants such that they can participate with funded hubs in statewide convenings to ensure STEM expertise is leveraged throughout Oregon.
Selected Regional STEM Hubs include:
- Central Oregon STEM Hub, led by the High Desert Museum serving Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties
- GO STEM Collaborative led by Eastern Oregon University serving Wallowa, Union, Umatilla, Morrow, Baker, Grant, Harney and Malheur Counties
- Oregon Coast Regional STEM Hub led by Lincoln School District serving Lincoln, Tillamook, Clatsop, and Coos Counties
- Portland Metro STEM Partnership led by Portland State University serving portions of Multnomah and Washington Counties
- South Metro Salem STEM Partnership led by Oregon Tech serving Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion, Washington and Polk Counties
- Umpqua Valley Regional STEAM Hub led by Umpqua Community College serving Douglas County
Many of the STEM Hub partnerships were created from existing Regional Achievement Collaboratives which include twelve cross-sector groups of partners working collectively to improve outcomes across the educational continuum for Oregon students.
Hubs were selected based on how their goals met the needs of their communities, the strength of their partnerships, the quality of their evidence-based strategies, and the rigor of their evaluation plan to ensure that they would meet their short-term and long-term student outcomes. Each hub was required to include diverse stakeholders—at a minimum: a school district; a postsecondary institution; a student-focused nonprofit and; and business, industry or other STEM focused community partner.
Each funded hub has committed to incorporate and adopt the principals of the OEIB Equity Lens; develop strategies designed to support meeting the statewide 40-40-20 goals; and align with the STEM Council goals.
"These Regional STEM Hubs are a critical step towards the establishment of a statewide implementation and coordination network to meet the diverse economic, workforce, and education priorities of our communities,” said STEM Council Chair Jim Piro. “It’s very exciting to see such strong partnerships forming between schools, STEM industries, and our post-secondary institutions to motivate and prepare our youth for STEM careers!”
The STEM Council will be monitoring the outcomes from the hub investments closely to determine how to leverage and expand what is working well into the broader educational system.
The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) is chaired by Governor John Kitzhaber and was created in 2011 to oversee an effort to build a seamless, unified system for investing in and delivering public education from birth to college & career. OEIB is dedicated to building a student-centric system that links all segments of the educational experience together to ensure each student is poised for a promising future.