ESU 11 Announces Mobile STEM Lab Initiative

Monday, February 04, 2019

Main News Photo

Photo: Premier Partner level businesses present ESU 11 with their donations to kick off the fundraising initiative to bring a mobile STEM lab to the district. Left to right: Bob Hays, Community Advisor; Chelsea Gengenbach, Dawson Public Power; Fred Diedrichsen, Phelps County Development Corporation; Greg Barnes, ESU 11; Dave Arnold, Royal Engineered Composites; Brian Deakin, Becton Dickinson

(Holdrege, NE) – February 4, 2019 – ESU 11 is proud to announce a new initiative to bring a mobile STEM lab to area schools. STEM labs are designed to promote creativity and exploration in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Businesses in south central Nebraska are seeing an increased need to fill STEM related positions, so area businesses are stepping up to help develop the local talent-pool. Students will be able to explore potential careers available in south central Nebraska and can learn about the skills businesses seek when filling those STEM related positions.

Modeled after Nebraska Public Power District’s STEM Connections Lab, students will have the opportunity to explore possibilities in a “Makerspace” education environment. This type of open learning environment teaches students the basic functionalities of a system and allows the student to develop their own experiments. ESU 11’s Create, Solve, Innovate (CSI) Labs will consist of 10 unique stations that fit into the themes of “Make It New,” “Make It Do,” “Make An Impact,” or “Make It You.”

The 10 CSI Labs feature various technologies that individual schools may not have access to, such as a 3D printer, a Carvey CNC machine, robotics, virtual reality, sensor stations, a vinyl cutter and more. Each school may reserve the CSI Labs for two weeks of use at their school by contacting ESU 11.

With guidance and support from Becton Dickinson, Dawson Public Power District, Royal Engineered Composites, Southern Power District, and Twin Valleys Public Power District, the goal of the new initiative is to be privately funded and not be an additional cost on ESU 11. Industry partners recognize the need for STEM education in south central Nebraska and the continued development of the local workforce. This project creates a unique opportunity for local industries and education to work together to inspire tomorrow’s workforce.

Current Partners of ESU 11’s CSI Labs:
Premier Partners: Becton Dickinson, Royal Engineered Composites, LandMark Implement, Phelps County Development Corporation, Phelps County Community Foundation

Partners: Grayson Tool, Southern Power District

Supporters: Twin Valleys Public Power District, Nebraska Corn Processing, Dawson Public Power District, Pinpoint Communications

Additional partners are still being accepted. If you an area business that recognizes the importance of developing our future workforce and would like to be a part of the CSI Labs, please contact ESU 11 for more information. ESU 11 serves 13 school districts, including Alma, Arapahoe, Axtell, Bertrand, Cambridge, Elwood, Eustis/Farnam, Franklin, Holdrege, Loomis, Minden, Southern Valley and Wilcox/Hildreth.

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