STEM News is provided on Local Tech Wire through a collaborative effort with the NC STEM Community Collaborative, MCNC, and the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Center (SMT Center). To submit story ideas, please email LTW Editor Rick Smith or Noah Garrett

Special to LTW

KINSTON, N.C. – The Lenoir County STEM Design Team, a local initiative working to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in Lenoir County, celebrated investments in local education today at Spirit AeroSystems’ Composite Center of Excellence (formerly the Global TransPark Training Center).

The presented $50,000 to the Lenoir County STEM Design Team 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 Lenoir County STEM Hub will provide students and teachers in our community and surrounding communities with the technology tools they need in preparation for 21st century jobs.

Among the many challenges we face today, few are as important as finding, encouraging, and training more students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, added Vermillion. If we are to continue the flow of jobs and foster innovation in our state and in our community, STEM education simply must be a higher priority.

Joe Freddoso, president and CEO of MCNC, which supports with NC STEM, presented the $50,000 check and praised the vision of Lenoir Countys leaders to create innovations in education that create a workforce ready for 21st century jobs.

"A STEM-enriched community in Lenoir County builds upon the efforts of businesses, like Spirit, so others find this area as an attractive base and therefore offer its citizens good-paying jobs," said Freddoso.

Spirit recently opened its high-tech assembly plant at the Global TransPark.

Lenoir County is the first STEM community 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 STEMs 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.

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