STEM East seeks to address the current regional skill gaps, expand economic opportunities, and improve workforce development programs by looking deeper into our education and training systems. Students must be inspired and engaged before they enter high school courses that determine their eligibility for certificate programs or associate or baccalaureate degrees. STEM East seeks to influence students before they become disillusioned with education and fail to see the benefit of the course work, turn off to education, or drop out altogether. Reaching students early and exposing them to career opportunities in the region is the first step to developing a robust workforce that will improve sustainability and economic growth potential.
STEM East is developing a public/private network that can support the entire education and workforce pipeline. Partnering with the private sector, government and community organizations, schools, and colleges and universities allows for the development of professional teacher-training programs, student learning centers, regional advocacy opportunities, and career pathways that are aligned to existing industry workforce needs as well as emerging industry clusters. Students need to be exposed to all the career exploration programs and post-secondary education possibilities earlier and more often. STEM East assists in providing venues of opportunity for public/private partners to share programs, projects, and other outreach opportunities as well as advocating for more STEM-related projects to be established in Eastern North Carolina.