EADS, Colo., April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Colorado Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) are hosting over 300 students from 12 southeastern rural Colorado school districts for the second annual Dream Big Event at Eads High School in Eads, Colo. in hopes of inspiring rural Colorado students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields to address a national and local shortage.
"STEM industries have a growing impact on Colorado and we need to meet these opportunities by providing a skilled workforce. Continuing to support K-12 education will help meet the needs of the STEM workforce across the State," said Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer Lynne. "Careers in this industry help young people build strong futures for themselves and their families."
The United States is experiencing a dramatic shortage of STEM workers. According to a study by the New American Economy, Colorado had 15.3 job openings for every unemployed worker in STEM last year, which is close to the national ratio of 13 to 1. Keeping STEM students from dropping out of the STEM talent pipeline is essential in meeting U.S. STEM job demands for the future.
The Dream Big Event is connecting rural students with industry leaders and professors from Colorado's top technology companies and universities in order to increase students' exposure and interest in STEM related fields through hands-on demonstrations and interactive activities. Companies such as Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, Fauston Tool, SecureSet and others are participating in the one-day learning event.
"The Dream Big Event is designed to introduce students to industries like aerospace or Cybersecurity that they might not know of or understand, " said Colorado's aerospace and defense industry champion Jay Lindell. "We want to inspire the students to dream big about the infinite opportunities they have to improve our world through STEM careers."
During the event, students are divided into groups and rotate through five inspiring technology learning areas – space, aviation, Cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and robotics/unmanned air systems –that include engaging presentations, hands-on demonstrations and interactive activities.
Students are also taking a virtual trip to Mars courtesy of the Challenger Learning Center, flying assisted in a Cessna 182 aircraft courtesy of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, and experiencing the internet of things in the NXP Smarter World Tour Mobile Station with 180 technology demos.
In addition, a resource fair is available for the students, featuring Colorado technology businesses and organizations, photo opportunities with pilots, and a Colorado National Guard humvee and helicopter display. Representatives from Colorado NASA are also attending. The Dream Big Eads Event is provided through a public-private partnership with lead by OEDIT.
To continue the learning experience beyond the Dream Big Event, the 3-D Printing Store is donating design software to Eads School District for additional projects. At the event, students are designing projects for a 3-D printer and learning about its application in advanced manufacturing. Debra Wilcox, owner and founder of the 3-D Printing Store, says students should learn design software and 3-D technology to be dimensional capable, as 3-D printing is the future of manufacturing.
"3-D printing allows regular people with great ideas to turn their ideas into tangible items that have value," said Wilcox. "There is no reason any student or community can't have access to this technology."
This is the second year for the event. In 2015, over 300 students from northeastern Colorado convened at Revere High School in Ovid, Colo. to participate in the first Dream Big Event. OEDIT is currently planning future Dream Big events in rural and mountain communities across Colorado.
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with statewide partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. Under the leadership of Governor John Hickenlooper, OEDIT strives to advance the state's economy through financial and technical assistance in support of local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado. Visit OEDIT at www.choosecolorado.com.
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SOURCE Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)