A new statewide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Task Force convened by the Council on Postsecondary Education held its inaugural meeting in Frankfort on Dec. 19. The task force is chaired by Dr. Lee Todd, president of the University of Kentucky, and is charged with developing a statewide strategic action plan to accelerate Kentucky’s performance within the STEM disciplines from preschool through graduate school (P-20).
“While Kentucky has several exemplary programs and initiatives within the STEM disciplines, statewide collaboration across various sectors is necessary to ensure that Kentucky develops the talentforce that drives knowledge economy jobs,” said Tom Layzell, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education.
“At the state level, more needs to be done to strengthen the STEM pipeline and encourage a greater number of postsecondary graduates in STEM-related fields,” Layzell added.
The task force is comprised of representatives from the executive and legislative branches of state government, postsecondary education, K-12 education, professionals within the STEM disciplines and the business community. The four sector groups (government, business, K-12, higher education) will meet separately to prepare sector reports that will form the basis of a final report.
The task force will also explore the critical relationship between STEM production and the knowledge economy of Kentucky. The task force will meet through March 2007 to finalize a report that will include recommendations and accountability measures. The report is expected to be released during the 2007 Legislative Session.
“We recognize that other states and countries are aggressively pursuing attainment within the STEM disciplines,” stated Dr. Todd. “Kentucky must increase its productivity in these areas to remain competitive in the global economy.”
The creation of the task force emerged from a recommendation of the CPE Research, Economic Development and Commercialization Policy Group chaired by John R. Hall, former chairman and CEO of Ashland, Inc.
“Kentucky’s long-term competitiveness is directly linked to student attainment in the STEM disciplines,” stated Hall.
For more information about the CPE STEM task force, visit http://cpe.ky.gov/committees/stem.
Kentucky’s postsecondary and adult education system is improving the economic vitality of the commonwealth and the lives of Kentuckians. By raising educational attainment to the national average by 2020, Kentucky will attract higher wage and knowledge-based business and industry and the overall quality of life for Kentuckians will improve with higher incomes and levels of employment, better health, less obesity, more volunteerism and lower crime and public assistance rates.