Rep Howse: Embracing Science, Technology Will Position Workforce For 21st Century Economy
Local STEAM programs to promote innovation, entrepreneurship in underserved communities

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) and Stephanie Santoso, Senior Advisor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), participated in a roundtable discussion this week held by the Cleveland Public Library to inform area stakeholders of new Science, Technology, Arts and Math (STEAM) programs available in Northeast Ohio. The policymaker stressed the importance of ensuring STEAM programs reach students in underserved urban communities, especially those in the Cleveland area.

“The Cleveland Public Library has undertaken a tremendous effort to bring hands-on science, technology, engineering and math opportunities to children and families in our community. However, we need to do more,” said Howse. “In Ohio, there are more than 27,000 available jobs in STEAM-related fields, and we must do our part to equip people with the necessary skills to be successful and compete in this 21st century job market. I am here today to announce that in the summer of 2016, I will be hosting STEAM Pop-Up Tours to introduce 1,000 families and children to hands-on learning and exposure opportunities to science, technology, arts, and math.”

One of the STEAM programs available to Cleveland residents is “Tech Central,” a maker’s space located at the Cleveland Public library. Tech Central will ensure the community has a space dedicated to a culture of learning fit for the 21st century. The STEAM Pop-up tour, which will be know as “Make it Fab,” will be centralized in the underserved neighborhoods with the objective of leading area students and families to the Maker Spaces such as Tech Central and orientating communities to the Fab Labs at the STEM programs in schools.

“These programs have the potential to engage students, inspire them to excel in STEM and revitalize career and technical education,” said Santoso. “They also help workers gain the skills they need for jobs in design and advanced manufacturing. In addition, they lower barriers to entrepreneurship and enable citizens to develop real, impactful products that meet the needs of a community.”

For communities like Cleveland, fabrication and maker spaces like Tech Central, the MC2 STEM high school and Lorain Community College Fab Labs are key to preparing youth for the emerging creative economy, and they also play an important role in job training and encouraging entrepreneurship.

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