OKLAHOMA CITY – On Monday, educators, lawmakers, business and community leaders gathered at the State Capitol for the designation ceremony of the most recent STEM Regional Consortium. The Central Oklahoma STEM Alliance (COSTEMA) was formed in spring 2015 to help train students in the Oklahoma City metro for STEM jobs available in the area.
“There are thousands of jobs going unfilled around the state because our workforce simply doesn’t have the skills and training necessary for them. This is why I have advocated so strongly for improving STEM education to ensure our students know what jobs are available to them and decide if they have an interest in those particular fields so they can pursue the proper education and training,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “I’m thrilled with how many STEM Communities and Regional Consortiums like the one at UCO and Gordon Cooper Career Tech have been created in two short years.”
The new Alliance was possible under legislation (SB 1181 creating the Oklahoma - A STEM State of Mind) authored by Sen. Ron Sharp in 2014. The first STEM Regional Consortium was created by Gordon Cooper Career Tech in Shawnee.
This past session, Sharp also authored SB 984 to encourage students to pursue more STEM, Advanced Placement and College concurrent courses by creating the Oklahoma Academic High School Diploma Recognition Act.
“Our students have the talent. We just have to continue providing them with the tools and guidance they need to be successful in the growing STEM workforce,” said Sharp. “STEM education is having a tremendous impact on our state’s economy and workforce. I want to thank all of the industry leaders, educators and community partners who have made these STEM programs possible. We are changing the face of education in Oklahoma.”
COSTEMA is made up of more than 60 members including Crooked Oak, Deer Creek, Edmond, Millwood, Oklahoma City, Putnam City and Western Heights public schools. The district hopes to serve 150,000 K-12 students in the first year especially those who are underserved in STEM education.