Since its establishment in 2008, the Washington State STEM Education Foundation has worked toward fostering a 100 percent home-grown STEM workforce. This is part of the vision of becoming a national model for passionate support for STEM education.
We support a view that STEM literacy is foundational for all careers. STEM builds critical thinking abilities, creativity and collaboration skills. Gaining STEM proficiency provides the basis for these skills and builds the flexibility to adapt quickly to frequent changes in the labor market.
The Foundation’s first project was to support the funding and launch of Delta High. Long before most communities were placing emphasis on STEM education, Tri-Cities leaders were hard at work designing our region’s award-winning STEM school, Delta High, which opened in 2009 in temporary facilities. The state-of-the-art permanent facility opened in 2015 in Pasco.
Delta High put the Mid-Columbia on the STEM map and led the way for numerous STEM elementary schools that followed. A new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) middle school also was established. The outstanding STEM offerings at Columbia Basin College and Washington State University-Tri-Cities are the capstones of our local STEM education portfolio.
In 2014, the Foundation expanded its impact by forming the Mid-Columbia STEM Network, one of the now 10 STEM Networks across the state led by Washington STEM, a Seattle-based non-profit. Working in partnership with leaders from business, education, government and community-based organizations and volunteers across the state, we deliver STEM resources and opportunities to the Mid-Columbia.
That same year, the Foundation introduced STEM Like ME!SM, the first of what would become an acclaimed suite of interactive, student-centered programs that use STEM professionals to spark student interest in STEM careers.
Recognition of the STEM Foundation’s success as a collaborator and catalyst for STEM education in the region resulted in major grants from Career Connect Washington in 2019 and Battelle in 2020 to expand outreach both geographically and in the number of students served.