UNC To Study Effectiveness Of School, Industry Partnerships

UNC's Kristin Klopfenstein, executive director of the Education Innovation Institute. Image Credit: UNC

UNC’s Kristin Klopfenstein, executive director of the Education Innovation Institute. Image Credit: UNC

September 14, 2016 – The University of Northern Colorado’s Education Innovation Institute is partnering on a statewide STEM initiative to measure the impact of industry and school partnerships.

More than 40 middle schools have applied to The Colorado Education Initiative’s pilot project that begins this fall. Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin will donate financial resources for up to five schools while employees will donate their time and talent to classrooms, according to CEI.

Blake Davis, Lockheed’s director of engineering said that encouraging young minds to pursue STEM is an important part of the company’s long-term strategy. “The value and future of our industry will be in the hands and minds of our brightest engineers,” said Davis. “We see the value of our employees contributing their time and talent to excite and engage young learners in STEM in meaningful ways.”

While students benefit from hands-on STEM instruction with industry mentors, UNC will partner with CEI to study the pilot’s impact and students impacted by STEM industry and school partnerships.

UNC’s Kristin Klopfenstein, executive director of the Education Innovation Institute, said the pilot will help to lay the groundwork to find ways to strengthen connections between employers and teachers around the state.

“We want to create a system that is easy for schools to use,” said Klopfenstein. “Schools don’t really understand employer needs very well, and employers don’t typically understand school needs very well – so we will use data from this pilot to help us create better ways for schools to easily find mentors or industry partners who really match the needs of their students.”

The five pilot schools for this program will be announced in October.