To help remove barriers to tech education, address the ongoing shortage of tech workers in the Silicon Prairie, and spark interest in science, technology, engineering and math careers, the Omaha STEM Ecosystem and the AIM Institute have launched the online STEM Community Platform, presented by Cox.
The STEM Community Platform, located at stemplatform.org, connects youth, parents, educators and professionals to an online hub of high-quality STEM programs, resources and events in the Greater Omaha area. The website is the first of its kind in Omaha to have a comprehensive list of STEM programs all in one place.
“Nebraska is currently faced with a critical shortfall of professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Julie Sigmon, director of the Omaha STEM Ecosystem. “In order to grow the region’s talent pipeline, we must provide opportunities needed to be successful in learning, scientific thinking, and examining potential career paths. The site would not be possible without our generous sponsors, Cox and Facebook, and our partnership with AIM Institute, which is fueling the technology behind the new website.”
A variety of business community stakeholders view the website as a crucial tech recruitment tool for students, as well as anyone wishing to explore the possibility of a STEM career.
“We understand the important role STEM plays in the development of our youth,” said Kim Rowell, Cox Vice President, Omaha. “This platform provides access to hundreds of programming options and learning opportunities for everyone in our community, we couldn’t be more pleased to be a part of this new learning ecosystem.”
The ongoing need to develop a more robust tech workforce is a sentiment shared by leaders in both the public and private sector. To that end, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce has set a goal of attracting 10,000 new tech workers to the area by 2024, according to an Omaha World-Herald investigation into the local skilled-workforce crisis.
“STEM skills are important for the next generation of the workforce to thrive here in Nebraska and across the country,” said Matt Sexton, Community Development Regional Manager at Facebook’s Papillion Data Center. “We are elated to help make this innovative resource a reality for students and families in our community.”
The website offers easy functionality for the user to find kids camps, career listings in STEM career fields and informational resources for elementary aged children to adults. There also is an online quiz available to help narrow areas of interest. Organizations and community members now have the ability to view and add STEM resources, opportunities and events by visiting stemplatform.org.
“AIM is so proud to be part of this effort to strengthen the Omaha area STEM community and program pipeline,” said Kandace Miller, Ph.D, President and CEO of the AIM Institute, a nonprofit opening opportunities in the tech sector to everyone through education, career development and outreach. “Partnerships like these are crucial to building a strong, diverse tech and STEM community.”
Founding and supporting community partners that made the STEM Community Platform a reality include, Cox, Facebook, AIM Institute, Clarkson College, First National Bank of Omaha, Iowa West Foundation, Nebraska Department of Education, Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The new STEM Community Platform can be accessed at stemplatform.org.