Participants from Wisconsin for the 2018 STEM Summit were (L to R): Kevin Anderson, Wisc. DPI; Sec. Ray Allen, Wisc. DWD; Ted Neitzke, CEO of CESA 6 and Mark Tyler, President, OEM Fabricators pictured in front of the White House. Submitted photo
Participants from Wisconsin for the 2018 STEM Summit were (L to R): Kevin Anderson, Wisc. DPI; Sec. Ray Allen, Wisc. DWD; Ted Neitzke, CEO of CESA 6 and Mark Tyler, President, OEM Fabricators pictured in front of the White House. Submitted photo

Submitted by S. Mark Tyler, OEM Fabricators

WOODVILLE, WI – I wanted to provide some follow up to the White House State Federal STEM Summit that I attended on the 25th and 26th of June. The intent of the Summit was to gain input from State, Territory, and Tribal leaders that work in STEM education to provide direction to the federal government on where investments in STEM would be most beneficial. Nearly all states and territories were present, which from what we were told is unprecedented. There were about 150 participants plus many more federal officials from the White House, The National Science Foundation, NASA, The Smithsonian, and others.

Ivanka Trump was very impressive with her knowledge of STEM education and issues around workforce development. She talked about advocating on Capitol Hill for the Perkins/CTE Bill, which is critical for our high schools and technical colleges; she also mentioned the need for more PreK and Early Childhood.

The team from Wisconsin was made up of representatives from public education, workforce development, cooperative school services, and private industry. Given these differing perspectives, it was gratifying to learn that nearly all of the participants, both from Wisconsin and from across the nation shared many of the same concerns. Those being that federal investment in STEM and CTE (Career and Technical Education) be in partnership with employers, be flexible to adapt to the needs of different regions and economies, be skinny on bureaucracy, and lead to great outcomes for students. The Wisconsin team had their final session with folks from St Thomas in the Virgin Islands and even there, our objectives were clearly aligned.

Now that the participants from across the nation have weighed in, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will distill all the input to formulate a five year strategic plan for federal investment. We are anxious to see the report with the hope that our government is listening and acts on the input they’ve received. If they do, we will see improvement in the effectiveness of the federal monies and better success for students that are entering CTE and STEM pathways. I am optimistic.

Mark Tyler is president of OEM Fabricators, Inc. in Woodville, Wisconsin. He also serves as the president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, and chair’s the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment.