KC STEM Alliance celebrates its official launch, move to Union Station

New organization with focus on K-12 STEM programs builds collaborative partnerships geared to support post-secondary education, leads to a sustainable local STEM workforce

Kansas City, Mo. – KC STEM Alliance, a UMKC-affiliated organization with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) K-12 education and programs, announces its plans to move to Kansas City’s Union Station in January of 2012.

“We are definitely breaking ground as it relates to building a diverse, innovative and sustainable STEM workforce within our region,” said Laura Loyacono, executive director of KC STEM Alliance. “Our collaborative partnership model will allow us to target limited resources where they are needed most – to strengthen STEM programs for students K-12. To set that purpose into motion, our move to Union Station will allow us to reach more students, host numerous community-wide events, strengthen our partnership with the business and civic leaders and deepen our partnership with Science City.”

“As a community, we need to increase student interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and the KC STEM Alliance will help us meet that end,” said Tom McDonnell, CEO of DST and chairman of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “KC STEM Alliance will lead to building a long-term, highly skilled workforce for the Kansas City community.”

The KC STEM Alliance’s purpose is to 1) Create a shared services model for STEM programs, such as Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and FIRST, coordinating data collection and program evaluation, as well as facilitating school and industry partnerships; 2) Support a solid foundation of STEM education for all students, regardless of race, gender or economic status; 3) Increase the quality, quantity and diversity of job-ready candidates for local STEM employers; and 4) Advance economic development and progress in our community.

“The KC STEM Alliance is truly a one-of-a-kind model, designed as an overarching entity that will leverage the strengths of its STEM programs in K-12 education, build a solid foundation that will lead to post-secondary education and strengthen partnerships with local and regional STEM industry leaders to help advance our students into the workforce,” said Leo E. Morton, chancellor of UMKC.

In addition to announcing its plans and efforts, the event will provide KC STEM Alliance with the opportunity to officially thank and recognize its current sponsors and partners, and showcase its two affiliate programs: Project Lead the Way and FIRST. These programs challenge students to expand their learning through better in-school curricular and extracurricular activities, as well as event competitions.

“We are honored that KC STEM Alliance selected Union Station for its new home. But more importantly, we are excited about the partnerships that will be created with our growing science center and our focus on our community’s young people and commitment to science education,” said George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station Kansas City. “In addition to being a KC STEM partner, we look forward to providing event space to KC STEM for PLTW and FIRST, as well as their programs geared toward teachers, counselors and administrators. KC STEM will be hosting their first major event of the new year 2012 FIRST LEGO League competition in January.”

Currently, there are more than 12,000 students from 27 school districts, private schools and community organizations, from across the metropolitan area, that are served by programs like PLTW and FIRST.

“The KC STEM Alliance serves as a valuable resource for schools in garnering financial and volunteer support from area employers, as we help prepare student for post-secondary educational opportunities and prosperous careers,” said Gene Johnson, superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District. “This is particularly critical, given that schools are being asked to do more with less. These programs can greatly enhance a student’s ability to master other school subjects and provide students with the foundation to pursue college and challenging career opportunities.”

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation made a lead gift of $3.6 million to support the organization over the next five years. The Kauffman Foundation is a sustaining partner of the KC STEM Alliance. Other sustaining partners include Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Cerner, DST, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Honeywell FMT, Society of Engineering Education Foundation, Time Warner Cable, University of Missouri-Kansas City, U.S. Engineering and VML. Sponsoring Partners include Garmin, Hallmark Cards, Kansas City Power & Light and MRI Global. Supporting Partners include 360 Architecture, Custom Engineering, Science City at Union Station, Joint Engineering Council – Kansas City, Johnson Controls and Society of Women Engineers – Kansas City. University Partners include, Kansas State University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Metropolitan Community College, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Pittsburg State University, University of Central Missouri and Wichita State University.

About KC STEM Alliance:

The KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business partners and organizations that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers to generate a robust force of related professionals for our community. The vision of the KC STEM Alliance is to see that a diverse, innovative and sustainable STEM workforce becomes a reality. By developing an environment that leverages the strengths of educators, STEM organizations, and local industry a collaborative network can be established to encourage and sustain interest in STEM careers. The University of Missouri-Kansas City is the fiscal agent for the organization. For more information, please visit www.kcstem.org.

About the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering:

Located in one of the nation’s largest engineering communities, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Computing and Engineering is Kansas City’s only university with ABET-accredited engineering, computer science and information technology degree programs.

SCE’s internationally-recognized faculty prepare students for today’s competitive job market by providing a curriculum that includes the latest technology and business trends, as well as a comprehensive education in each field’s theory and fundamental practice. Our classes also build bridges to the professional world by partnering with local companies, organizations and engineers. To learn more about SCE, visit http://sce.umkc.edu/.

About UMKC:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit www.umkc.edu. You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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