Monday, June 25, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today named three leaders in workforce development and education to attend a White House summit on STEM education in Washington, D.C.
Those attending this week’s summit are Nathaniel Harding, chairman of the Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development; Becki Foster, chief of staff at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technical Education; and Ken Parker, chief executive officer of NextThought. The summit, being held today and tomorrow, is the first-of-its-kind state and federal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) gathering hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
“This is a great opportunity for Oklahoma to have input in the development of the federal five-year plan for STEM education,” said Fallin. “The need for a strong STEM-educated workforce continues to grow. The demand for STEM workers in Oklahoma’s expanding economy is expected to increase by more than 10 percent a year through 2022.”
The Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development is assigned with ensuring, coordinating, and aligning the workforce system with economic needs and development. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technical Education provides leadership and resources, and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. NextThought is a Norman company that develops online course technology designed for connected learning, and also provides learning design and video production services.
According to the OSTP, the summit will bring together a diverse group of STEM leaders, including officials from governors’ offices, educators, workforce and industry representatives, state policy experts, and non-government organization executives. They will help develop a new federal five-year STEM education strategic plan in compliance with the America COMPETES Act of 2010.
“This event is the first time an administration has asked for this level of state input when developing a federal STEM education strategy,” said Jeff Weld, senior policy adviser and assistant director for STEM education at OSTP. “Top-down approaches to STEM education can often yield wonderful ideas, but it’s at the state and community level where the momentum happens. State leaders know best what kinds of programs will work in their communities, and where they need the power of the federal government to help drive success in this field.”
Other groups involved in the summit are the National Science Foundation, the U.S. departments of education and labor, and the Smithsonian Institution. STEM leaders from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories and tribes, are planning to attend the summit.
About the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
In 1976, Congress established the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to provide the president and others within the executive office of the president with advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security, homeland security, health, foreign relations, the environment, and the technological recovery and use of resources, among other topics. OSTP also leads interagency science and technology policy coordination efforts, assists the Office of Management and Budget with an annual review and analysis of federal research and development in budgets, and serves as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the president with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government.