During a panel discussion at the spring 2019 STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice Convening in New Orleans, GLBRA leader, Lori Flippin shares her experience in working closely with local businesses to move their priorities forward. The Great Lakes Ecosystem prioritizes family engagement to build strong cradle to career pathways in the region.
Flippin gives an example of how a corporate partner of GLBRA is supporting the families that work for them.
“I’m going to give you a different take. So what Nexteer Automotive does to support their families is to offer resources and incentives to participate in STEM Education opportunities. They have also participated in community collaboratives to connect employees to resources for social and emotional issues as well as financial issues that may be barriers for ongoing employment for their workforce. It is important for them as a company that their employees engage with their children and students within the community so they have built some structures and supports that involve things like enhanced daycare options, diaper assistance, care repair assistance and more.” Flippin says.
Flippin expands on what this level of involvement might include for Nexteer Automotive to best support their workers with families.
“This might involve helping to fix their cars. It may involve providing STEM lessons and STEM days at the local museum to empower employees to engage with their own children. It might involve encouraging employees to mentor area robotics teams that Nexteer sponsors.” says Flippin.
“From a company perspective they’ve bought into the importance of the bigger picture for workforce development and worker retention. They provide support and empower their employees to allow for family engagement,” Flippin says.
Modeling family engagement with the families closest to the business, the employees, is one example that the Great Lakes ecosystem shares to deepen the understanding and support for families within a community.
The Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance (GLBRA), a consortium of business, education, and community interests, recognized that the future vitality of its economy was dependent on developing a STEM Talent Pipeline. The STEM Impact Initiative was launched in the spring of 2014 when GLBRA contracted with Accenture and Innovate+Educate to develop a comprehensive analysis of STEM in the region and develop a strategy with specific recommendations. The final report – entitled “Building a Robust STEM Talent Pipeline in the Great Lakes Bay Region” – identified four sets of key requirements for a high-performing STEM region: (1) Driven by Employer Demand; (2) Powered by Career and College Ready Students; (3) Focused on Strengthening Technical Skills Needed for the Economy; and (4) Sustained by a Culture of STEM.