STEAM Programs Becoming Focus for Schools, Employers

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Mesa County's unemployment rate hits the lowest point in 10 years at 3%.

Hundreds to thousands of job openings exist in the area right now but, the easier of the jobs to get have been filled.

"It's not necessarily a skills gap issue, more how do we get creative to fill these job openings." said Curtis Englehart, executive director for the Mesa County Workforce Center. 

The workforce center is implementing training with Western Colorado Community College called Job Connects, to provide job-specific training as well as creating the foundation.

"The further upstream we can teach STEM the better," said Englehart, "Those skills are always going to be needed."

District 51 is working on just that, as Tope Elementary becomes the fourth school in the district to have a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) curriculum, bringing more hands on activities to the classroom.

"I think years ago, its more the teacher spoon feeding information that she has instead of everybody getting involved and letting them know what you know." said Julie Armbruster, a first grade teacher at Tope.

The STEAM program is part of the new District 51 Learning Model that has been in the planning for two years and is making its way into school agenda's this year.



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