Many thanks to George Serdar of Messerli and Kramer for inviting me to the law firm for lunch on Monday. Governor Pawlenty stopped by and had a chat with the attorneys and their guests about his vision for the State of Minnesota.
He spoke a bit about challenges facing the state including, health care, energy, public education and his vision on how to work on them.
It was also interesting to hear him say that quality of life in the region is important too and that projects like the Guthrie and Shubert Theaters and Minnesota Zoo are important. He also noted that it’s the quality of life that keeps Minnesotans here and attracts others to move here. That’s interesting to hear from a republican.
He answered a few questions but I had one that I was really curious about. After he had finished I introduced myself and asked the following question, “Technology and the use of it seems to be a major answer to many of the issues we face. How do we get young people who do not see technology or engineering as a career interested?”
We only had a couple of minutes but he explained STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and the upcoming summit on September 30th at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Here is the entire press release with information on the STEM Summit, PAWLENTY ANNOUNCES GRANT MONEY TO COVER SOFTWARE TRAINING, $1 MILLION IN AP GRANTS NOW AVAILABLE, and here is just the part on the summit:
The Governor also announced that the Department of Education and partners will host a STEM Summit on Saturday, September 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. Interested students, parents or teachers should contact the Minnesota Department of Education for information about the event and how to receive free admission that includes a ticket to the Science Museum for the day. Additional details and a sign-up form are online at www.education.state.mn.us.
“The business community has asked how they can help prepare our students for the future. Participating in our STEM Summit is a great opportunity for them,” Governor Pawlenty said. “The STEM Summit will bring together Minnesota companies and hundreds of high school students. We need to provide the opportunity for students across Minnesota to make direct connections with employers to show what it means to be an engineer or have a technical job.”
STEM education is key to building a strong Minnesota. Economic forecasts project a 20-33% increase in scientific and technical occupations in Minnesota in ten years and new job growth in professional and high tech industries will demand an extra 10,500 college graduates per year. For students, completing Algebra II in high school more than doubles their chances of earning a four-year college degree. Governor Pawlenty proposed and signed legislation this year that requires Algebra I by eighth grade and Algebra II and Physics or Chemistry to graduate from high school.
In order for both Minnesota and the United States to continue to be leaders we cannot continue to see lower numbers of technology, science, math, and engineering students. It is nice to see that state and local government and business are working together on this.