SteveThink of your career ten years from now. You’ve received a promotion or two, increased your salary by more than 25 percent and now you’re in the corner office.

You use your internal talent to steer your company to success. An internal talent force that will be entering seventh grade next year. That’s right. Assuming it will only take him or her four years to graduate college, today’s seventh graders will be entering the work force in just ten years.

So it should come as no surprise that WakeEd has expanded our SummerSTEM program for 2016. This year we are running the program for two weeks – one for elementary school teachers and one for secondary. We expanded SummerSTEM because we know our future doctors and engineers are mastering the concepts that will form the basis of their education. We want to make sure those students are ready to contribute to Wake County’s economy when the time comes.

Recently WakeEd collaborated with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce on our annual Education Forum. This year we discussed “2030: Education in North Carolina.” Michael Gilligan from Washington, D.C. think-tank Achieve, provided the keynote speech about how we can respond to a rapidly changing education and talent development pipeline from now through 2030.

 

UNC Senior Vice President Junius Gonzales, North Carolina State Senator Chad Barefoot, and Hunt Institute Policy and Programs Director Casey Renner, discussed the issue at length on a panel moderated by Brenda Berg, president and CEO, BEST NC. Finally, Dr. Amanda Marvelle, Biogen RTP Community Lab Coordinator, and Dr. Seth Carruthers, LORD Corporation Director of Chemical Technology and STEM sponsor, shared how their companies are working with WakeEd and others to impact the school system.

 

One thing we all talked about was ensuring our educators have adequate funding to do what they need to do. This month WakeEd began announcing the winners of our Teacher Innovation Grants. Each time we announce a winner, we are reminded how a grant as small as $3,000, can impact students for years to come. That’s the story of Hilburn Academy. Click here (insert link) to see how our grant helped build swings for special education students to expand their vocabulary.

 

In all of this activity, it helps to remember why we do this. We do it because you don’t want your future knee surgeon sitting in biology class thinking “When will I ever use this?” You want her to be taught by a teacher who knows how companies are using biotech to improve medicine. You want that teacher to have the funds to be able to create engaging experiences for her. You want your future surgeon to graduate from WCPSS ready to succeed in college at the top of her class to provide you with the best medical experience you’ve ever had. You want all of that and more. And so does WakeEd.

 

Steve Parrott

President