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Utah News

Industry Bringing STEM To The Classroom

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P-TECH in Brooklyn, NYC.

As part of his New York City trip, Gov. Gary Herbert toured P-TECH, a Brooklyn high school, on Tuesday. It was an opportunity learn about innovation involving STEM in the classroom. Herbert toured the facility with IBM Foundation president Stan Litow and P-TECH principal Rashid Davis.

Ben Hart, Managing Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said that incorporating more STEM into Utah’s curriculum can help students develop crucial skill sets.

“There was a lot at P-TECH that we saw today that was all about getting kids directly involved for future occupations in STEM industries,” Hart said. “There was a lot that we can bring back in terms of, ‘What are we doing to work with industries to really identify the skill sets that are needed?’ and then try and bring those types of programs forward so the kids can be ready for those occupations that are high in demand and have high wages as well.”

P-TECH began in the fall of 2011 by integrating education and the workplace by partnering students with STEM industry mentors. Such industry-classroom partnerships are the core of P-TECH’s teaching approach. Hart said that Utah needs to ensure that its education system meets the demands of a changing economy.

“We need to make sure that across IT, across energy, across aerospace and defense, that our education is lined up correctly. The national conversation has been about high school but ultimately it’s even junior high and potentially elementary [school],” he said. “They key is, it has to be industry-driven. When IBM or Boeing comes to the table and say, ‘hey, we want to participate and we want to help drive this,’ it just makes the whole process easier.”

Herbert will next travel to Washington, D.C., to speak before a congressional committee.