Marshalltown emerges as STEM leader

The collaboration of Marshalltown leaders in our schools and businesses is paying off. Marshalltown is emerging as a statewide leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and it’s starting to show.

There’s no question that having the efforts of Marshalltown schools lauded by the governor and lieutenant governor this week is a big deal. But the larger story is that nearly 20 percent of Marshalltown High School students are participating in courses like engineering and biomedical sciences through Project Lead the Way.

How this equates to tomorrow’s leaders is clear – Marshalltown is educating the next generation of our workforce for in-demand careers.

More and more of our jobs demand math and science – business leaders such as our own Emerson/Fisher know this first hand. The key, it seems, is getting our youth excited about these subjects early on.

That much was evident during a visit from Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds at Fisher Elementary School this week. Arms shot up when Reynolds asked the kids if they liked math, science and technology. One young girl proudly proclaimed she would be a scientist when she grows up.

You can hardly blame her for being enthused. Learning about science and math has never been more attractive to young learners. Students are learning hands-on, through exploration and research.

The trend is also apparent statewide – enrollment in STEM classes has more than doubled.

We think it’s important to make sure our Iowa students are competitive with other states and countries when it comes to STEM education.

It’s estimated that STEM-related job growth will increase by 16 percent in the next 10 years. As we move forward, support is needed from parents, educators and the private sector to generate interest among students in these important careers.

We all have a stake in making STEM education a success in the community. The careers of the future await.