Business Collaboration Brings Physics to Middle Schools

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La Junta Economic Development is excited to announce that eight schools in Colorado's Arkansas Valley region will roll out See The Change USA’s middle school physics curriculum to approximately 800 students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade thanks to local business collaboration. Business collaboration identified education as a key point in future workforce development.

STEM Shortage

This Physics program teaches the critical thinking skills we’re looking for in our workforce.”

This January eight schools in Colorado's Arkansas Valley region will roll out See The Change USA’s middle school physics curriculum to approximately 800 students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. The school districts implementing this program are East Otero, Rocky Ford, and Cheraw, Las Animas, and Wiley school districts. These schools are associated with Santa Fe Trails BOCES.

The Southeast Colorado Manufacturing Partnership initiated the project and funding was raised from local business collaboration with support from the El Pomar Foundation’s Southeast Regional Council in conjunction with the schools. The partnership consists of representatives from manufacturing companies, economic development, workforce development, junior college, and K-12 education.

Carol Noll, Superintendent of East Otero School District and acting fiscal agent for the districts said, “We are very excited to be bringing this program to our students. We want to give them every opportunity for growth and success.”

It is estimated that by 2018, Colorado will have a shortage of 57,000 science and engineering professionals with the gap continuing to grow moving forward. "There is a real need for students to be excited about and introduced to the world of physics, and 'See the Change' is just the kind of program to do it," said Sean Nohavec, senior vice president at UMB Bank. "So much of our economic future will rely on the brainpower of scientists and engineers, and we're proud to support a program that will foster learning and development in that field."

The See The Change physics program has been implemented in other school districts and is seeing success in engaging students and subsequently helping to improve test scores in Math, Science, and Reading. The draw for the manufacturers was the correlation between physics and critical thinking skills. Brian Burney, President and CEO of Oliver Manufacturing, commented, “From the moment I was introduced to Anatoliy and Dave, I knew their program was exactly what Manufacturers had been looking for. This Physics program teaches the critical thinking skills we’re looking for in our workforce.” Brett McIntosh, Plant Manager for Lewis Bolt & Nut Company added, “We are really behind the “See the Change USA” program and excited to see it come to our community. Having the opportunity to introduce Industrial Manufacturing to these kids is very exciting. Our hope is by showing them what we do here to satisfy our customers around the globe, it will ignite their curiosity and passion for science and engineering. I am truly looking forward to working with some of these kids in the future.”

Ryan Stevens, Executive Director of La Junta Economic Development said, “Our community is truly vested in bringing this program to our region. By following Colorado’s sector partnership model, we know that our primary employers in the region are looking for employees with critical thinking skills and this program will expose our students to those skills and help us grow and maintain homegrown talent. The future of our workforce is at stake and we have local businesses that realize how important workforce development is and the need to develop local talent. Local businesses are willing to invest in our students. We owe a big thank you to the businesses that sponsored the program, without their support, this program stays on a wish list instead of being put into action.”

“We couldn’t be prouder than to be working with the Santa Fe Trail BOCES schools which span three counties, Otero, Bent and Prowers. This now brings our count to 18 schools, just under 5,000 students and more teachers through our professional development program.” stated Dave Csintyan, CEO of See The Change USA. He went on to add, “I’m looking forward to the student’s achievements, our measurement of success, one student at a time.”

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La Junta Economic Development's mission is to aid in the economic development and stabilization of La Junta, Colorado, through promoting and retaining employment, generating both industrial and retail economic development leads that are a good fit for La Junta and the Arkansas Valley communities. We work as a business partner with our local businesses to promote a progressive and vibrant business climate for La Junta and the Arkansas Valley.

See The Change USA was founded in August 2012 and is a 501 (c) 3 national educational and charitable non-profit organization committed to student advancement in Science and Engineering. This is accomplished through introducing physics in middle schools, paralleling what is already in existence internationally.

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Ryan Stevens
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