Dear Mr. Campbell:
It is absolutely my pleasure to support and partner with East Kentucky Power Cooperative and its creation of a SOAR-STEM Ecosystem. The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet is committed to strengthening the economy in Eastern Kentucky in collaboration as part of the SOAR Initiative.
Together the Cabinet and the others are working to strengthen the relationship between economic development and workforce development in the SOAR region. This effort requires communication and partnership with the public and private sector at all levels of the education continuum from cradle to careers. Your leadership in creating a comprehensive K-16 STEM education initiative that will equip students with the 21st century skills needed to attract industry and employers to the region is vital to economic diversity in the SOAR region.
Your goals are concrete, such as, implementing STEM curriculum in 177 schools across 19 counties, providing ongoing professional development and promoting certification for 3,000 teachers, engaging over 82,000 students in high-quality project-based STEM learning and creating Centers of Excellence around coding. Efforts to build out that talent pipeline will combine K-12 programming with enablers and incentives for students to pursue postsecondary STEM degrees/certificates in local higher education institutions. This will help create a highly-qualified future STEM workforce that will attract businesses and high-wage, high-demand jobs. This will in due course revitalize eastern Kentucky in sectors like health care, local foods and agriculture, tourism and others capitalizing on new broadband access and the I-Way.
Thomas O. Zawacki, Secretary
Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet