Local Tech Wire

KINSTON, N.C. – The Lenoir County STEM Design Team, a local initiative working to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the community, will celebrate investments in local education on July 8 with a special event at in (GTP).

The public event is set for 3 p.m. at Spirit AeroSystems’ Composite Center of Excellence (formerly the GTP Training Center).

The will present $50,000 to the as an investment towards developing their innovative “STEM Hub” to be co-located within Spirit AeroSystems. This funding is in addition to more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind investments pledged by Lenoir businesses, non-profits, and other local investors for this project.

The STEM Hub will serve as a central location for K-12 schools, higher education, non-profit organizations, and private business to share STEM resources for the benefit of teachers, students, and businesses. The hub will facilitate STEM education research, internships, externships, and job shadowing between students and STEM businesses, advance teacher training, and provide cutting-edge technology geared towards education.

Tom Vermillion, leader of Lenoir’s STEM Design Team, said the partnership with NC STEM has changed the way Lenoir County is working together to make a strong 21st century community.

“STEM isn’t just about math here,” added Vermillion, “it’s about attracting jobs for our kids and for our community to be successful.”

Mark Pope, executive director of , said research-based curriculum implementation, professional development, and experience-based learning opportunities will prepare youth for employment with companies such as Spirit AeroSystems (the world’s largest independent supplier of aero structures) and other job opportunities in N.C.’s eastern region.

“One of the most impressive opportunities of NC STEM is the partnerships created between government, the public school system, local businesses, and business leaders,” added Pope. “Education plays a very important role in economic development, and the NC STEM program is a vital tool for the educational needs of our youth.”

Lenoir County is the first to receive funding from NC STEM this year.

Two other STEM communities (Davie County and the counties surrounding Fort Bragg) also will receive funding in the coming months to continue working on the educational innovations designed through NC STEM’s Community Visioning and Design Process. Over the last year, this process has gained national recognition as an innovative approach to community engagement in education issues.

Invited guests include senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr; congressmen G.K. Butterfield and Walter B. Jones; representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Battelle Memorial Institute; Lenoir County Superintendant of Schools Terry Cline; Joe Freddoso, president and CEO of MCNC; Gordon Vermillion with the Committee of 100; NC STEM community members and staff; GTP’s Board of Directors; county commissioners and school board members; members of the N.C. Board of Education; and others.

NC STEM helps communities throughout North Carolina ensure that all students engage in rigorous and relevant STEM education that provides them with good choices in life and bolsters the economic strength of their communities. The organization is funded through MCNC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Battelle Memorial Institute, and community partners.

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