Teachers Turn Out for STEM Instruction Focus

More than 200 area teachers turned out at Burns & McDonnell this morning for the third-annual Educators Summit, designed to equip educators with resources to help engage their students in science, technology, engineering and math academic tracks and boost the number of students pursuing STEM professions.

The program is in part a response to the demand for qualified STEM graduates around the nation; thousands of positions are open in a variety of industries, from online retailing to financial companies, government contractors, engineering firms and more. Those positions are prized in any community, because federal statistics show that 93 out of 100 STEM occupations have wages above the national average.

Nearly 7,700 STEM jobs are available annually in Kansas City, according to the latest survey from KCSourceLink, but area employers report being able to fill about 2,550 positions. To help address that, educators from more than 150 public, private schools and charter schools, plus community colleges, universities and even early-learning centers showed up fo the summit.

There, they were able to participate various workshops to strengthen their abilities to connect with students, parents and administrators —  all considered critical skills in fostering interest in STEM. Among other activities, they also heard from three STEM professionals who took different educational routes to secure their successful careers — from earning an associate’s degree to building upon college athletics to transferring into a four-year college to complete a degree.