The 2021 Future Ready Iowa Summit – Transforming Education for the Workforce was held for leaders across Iowa to amplify the public conversation about connecting education and the workforce with a focus on expanding work-based learning and computer science as critical aspects of STEM education, indeed education as a whole.
Governor Kim Reynolds opened the day with enthusiasm for a future-ready Iowa and a drive to prepare our youth for new and innovative careers. “Look at every student, every child and make sure that we’re connecting them with the amazing opportunities for them to be successful and reach their full potential and to do that right here in the great state of Iowa,” she said.
Students, educators,employers, nonprofit leaders and policy experts shared their first-hand perspective on what is needed to prepare students for high-demand careers in Iowa.
Langston Saint, a ninth-grade student from Sioux City West High School, shared his rich elementary school experience focused on computer programming. “I would like to see my story become the common story for all Iowa students,” he said.
Employers and educators, and state leaders provided examples of what is already working from an economic, education and workforce perspective, along with ideas for transformational action.
Keynote speaker Emily Calandrelli, host and co-executive producer of the Netflix Show “Emily’s Wonder Lab,” shared her journey in science-communication, emphasizing the importance of diversity around any table where design and execution of ideas takes place, and in so doing, the imperative for empathy and mutual respect.
Eight breakout sessions featured some of Iowa’s most innovative professionals who shared their experiences in work-based learning and computer science education.
Nearly 700 attendees were challenged by STEM Council Co-Chair Diane Young to identify one additional step to take to advance work-based learning in their local community and sphere of influence. For video and audio recordings from the Summit, visit iowastem.org/archive.