Four Colorado institutions join together to launch statewide science and technology education collaborative
Program Designed to Position Colorado as Leader in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education
DENVER (Sept. 21, 2009) – Four Colorado institutions: Metropolitan State College of Denver, the Colorado School of Mines, the Community College of Denver, and the Cherry Creek School District, have come together to form an unprecedented alliance – the Colorado Academy for the Development of STEM-related Careers (Colorado ADSC). Colorado ADSC is designed to position the state as a leader in scientific and technology education and to ensure that Colorado’s students – from kindergarten to the graduate level – are tapped-in and connected to cutting edge innovation.
According to founders Jeff Forrest, Chair of the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department at Metro State College, and Burke Fort, Director of the 8th Continent Project, a global initiative of the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado ADSC is “a response to the needs of Colorado employers and government officials to coordinate efforts that bolster education and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among students of all ages.”
Colorado ADSC’s initial focus will be on aerospace, providing education, scholarships, internships, career guidance and mentoring opportunities to students and members of the community desiring skills and competencies needed to obtain jobs in aerospace related industries and economic sectors. Colorado ADSC will provide educational certifications and specialized training that connect its targeted learning communities to job readiness and career enhancement. Colorado ADSC will also include collaboration with Colorado Workforce Centers that will facilitate training and assist in job placement.
As Forrest described it, Colorado ADSC is a “community of intellectual capital and knowledge-sharing that will reach students of all ages to encourage innovation and creativity in the sciences, technology and entrepreneurship.”
Promoting STEM education is a national initiative that many states and government officials, including Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, have embraced and even mandated. Current data shows that U.S. students are lagging behind their counterparts in other countries in STEM education achievement and, in fact, are often going so far as to forgo college due to lack of experience and exposure to the four key areas of STEM.
The mission of the Colorado ADSC is, according to Forrest, to span all levels on the educational chain.
“Colorado ADSC is about bridge-building,” he explained. “Our program is about cooperative education, from kindergarten to Ph.D.s, to share knowledge and provide leadership across all areas that will create scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs – today and in the future – who are open to collaboration and grounded in science but also inspired by invention and originality.”
As Forrest and Fort describe it, the “bridge” is currently anchored on one end by the Cherry Creek School District and its current $18 million project to promote STEM district-wide, and on the other by the Colorado School of Mines, a world-class research institution recognized in the areas of engineering and applied sciences, resource exploration, extraction, production and utilization. Its 8th Continent Project is a global non-profit entrepreneurship initiative with a network of technologists, educators, government leaders and investors working together to form the world's most comprehensive effort to integrate space technology and resources into the global economy.
Metro State College and CCD represent the middle of the bridge. As Gudryn Doherty, dean of math and science at CCD, explained, “STEM is about getting kids excited about science and technology. By being part of Colorado ADSC, we are helping our students access the courses they need to enter the Colorado technology workforce, equipped with credentials ranging from technician certifications to 4-year and graduate degrees.”
For Richard Charles, director of the STEM Center at Overland/Prairie being part of ADSC “fulfills our mission to inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care.”
“For decades, Colorado has been on the cutting edge of technology and especially so in aerospace,” said Fort. “Colorado ADSC – with its keen focus on connecting STEM education with STEM-related careers and prosperity – is just another example of our state’s commitment and a substantial step forward in ensuring both Colorado’s economic vitality and bright futures for Colorado students of all ages."
Fort sees the future of Colorado ADSC as an initiative that could potentially engage all academic institutions and workforce centers throughout the state. “We welcome anyone who has an interest in STEM – other colleges and universities, other school districts, community colleges – to join us in this effort,” Fort said. “Mines is proud to be a part of this important initiative.”
ABOUT THE METROPOLITAN STATE COLLEGE OF DENVER
Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating in-state undergraduates and is one of the largest four-year public colleges in the nation. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 64,400 alumni, with the majority of them remaining in Colorado after graduation. Nearly 1,000 of those students have graduated from the Hospitality, Tourism and Events Department. Visit Metro State at www.mscd.edu
ABOUT COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES
Founded in 1874, Colorado School of Mines was established to serve the needs of the local mining industry. Today, the School has an
international reputation for excellence in both engineering education
and the applied sciences with special expertise in the development and
stewardship of the Earth's resources. For more information about
ABOUT THE 8TH CONTINENT PROJECT
The 8th Continent Project is the world's most comprehensive effort to integrate space technology and resources into the global economy. 8th Continent provides the infrastructure and resources to solve a wide range of challenges from global warming to biomedical to renewable energy development. 8th Continent brings space down to Earth with the industry's first trade association, incubator, funding network and research hub, all working together to develop the next generation of space-derived business ventures. For more information visit www.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF DENVER
The Community College of Denver is a gateway to create academic and career competitiveness that meets the evolving economic, educational and cultural needs of diverse communities. The college is the leading point of access to higher education for first-time Denver college enrollees. Our mission is to provide "an affordable vibrant education in a diverse urban environment." Through this mission, the college pledges to provide programs that transfer for a baccalaureate degree, occupational programs for job-entry or upgrading skills, general education courses, and developmental education and community services. For more information visit www.ccd.edu
ABOUT THE CHERRY CREEK SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Cherry Creek School District's new state-of-the-art Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center will be built on the esplanade between Prairie Middle School and Overland High School. Scheduled to open in August 2011, the 58,000 square foot center will serve kindergarten through 12th graders, giving them a unique opportunity to explore and excel in these areas. Attending the STEM Center will help students prepare for higher education and careers in these high-demand fields. It is one more way that Cherry Creek School District fulfills our mission “to inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care.”