Friday, October 28, 2011

STEM Speed Networking

Let's face it.  Academics and industry types don't always talk the same language.  It's hard to get them together at the table sometimes.  Yet, it's absolutely essential to a community's well-being that they do talk and learn from each other.

Licking County might be on to something.

Applause goes out to The Works, Licking County's science museum extraordinaire, and the Licking County Chamber, hosts of the hugely-successful Manufacturer's Council, for combining efforts to get schools and industry together.

The topic was science, technology, engineering, and math--the so-called STEM skills.

Executives from Boeing, Bionetics, Bayer, Owens Corning, Momentive Performance, PCA, Screen Machine Industries, and Goodrich were the presenters.  Each of these Licking County companies has extreme STEM skills needs in both engineering degrees and technician-level talent now and into the future.

School district superintendents, guidance counselors, and science teachers were the audience.

The format was "speed networking" which is a business-like version of speed dating.  The Chamber has done this sort of thing before and the model worked well for this purpose too.

Here's how it works: 

Each company rep was given eight minutes to talk about how they use STEM skills in their plant to a school district's table-full of people.  The setting is more networking-oriented than presenting to a wide audience in front of the room.

When eight minutes was up, the rep moved on to the next table and new company exec sat down.  And so on and so on for the lunch meeting until every table had heard from every company.

The company leaves having met leadership and teachers from every school.  They leave knowing they reached a broad audience of educators with their workforce needs conveyed.

The schools leave having met more companies and contacts for supporting their individual STEM efforts.  They leave having a broader view of industry needs too.

This is something able to be duplicated elsewhere.  Here's hoping it gets duplicated again next year in Licking County.

Thanks to The Works and the Chamber.  The Port Authority was proud to be a sponsor.  I was proud to watch it take place as one more tool in a strong STEM effort in Licking County.

No comments:

Post a Comment