ROI Kicks Off Education, Workforce Initiatives

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Tina Peterson is CEO of Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. Tina Peterson is CEO of Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc.

Bloomington-based Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. is moving forward with two of its education and workforce initiatives announced earlier this year. The organization has selected six school districts for its Ready School Initiative and named its first cohort of K-6 teachers to take part in the regional STEM Fellow program.

The goal of the Ready School Initiative is to promote collaboration among school districts and community and industry stakeholders "to better align educational programming with the workforce opportunities across the Southwest Central Indiana region." Each school district involved in the initiative will receive $150,000 in funding to support a year-long development process.

The school districts selected for the program include Brown County Schools, Loogootee Community Schools, and a collaboration among Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools, Northwest Dubois County School Corp., Southwest Dubois County School Corp. and Southeast Dubois County School Corp.

"Our region is home to amazing cultural and economic assets; however, we continue to see a disconnect between the quality and quantity of talent and the workforce needs of our key industry sectors," said Tina Peterson, chief executive officer of ROI. "Workforce is clearly the Achilles heel for this region – the Ready Schools Initiative is a concerted effort, informed by industry and education, to begin addressing this issue. The initial cohort will engage in a purposeful year-long process to develop systemic, long-term strategies for pre-K through employment."

You can learn more about the Ready School Initiative by clicking here.

Additionally, ROI has named 15 K-6 teachers to take part in the first STEM Fellow cohort. ROI says the fellows will focus on "increasing STEM curricular relevance, supporting peer educators through mentorships, serving as instructional leaders in schools, and bringing teachers and employers together."

The 2017-2018 STEM Fellow cohort includes (Teacher, School, County):

  • Angie Bault, McCormick’s Creek Elementary, Owen
  • Mandy Buskirk, Eastern Greene Elementary, Greene
  • Brenda Ely, Helmsburg Elementary, Brown
  • Jackie Emberton, Burris Elementary, Lawrence
  • Lisa Emmick, North Elementary, Daviess
  • Jacob Graham, White River Valley Middle, Greene
  • Amanda Henry, Edgewood Primary, Monroe
  • Emily Johnson, Bradie Shrum Upper Elementary, Washington
  • Apryl Kidd, Hatfield Elementary, Lawrence
  • Tracie McAtee, Loogootee Middle, Martin
  • Jaime Miller, Edgewood Intermediate, Monroe
  • Lisa Norman, Spencer Elementary, Owen
  • Eddie Pierce, Grandview Elementary, Monroe
  • Jill Toy, Loogootee Elementary, Martin
  • Tara Weisheit, Veale Elementary, Daviess

"The common theme across Southwest Central Indiana’s key industries (advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and national security and defense) is that they are all STEM industries,” said Todd Hurst, director of education and workforce for ROI. "A STEM literate workforce is essential to the economic success of our region moving forward, and the early grade levels are a critical time for young learners to see science, technology, engineering, and math content as accessible and attainable. We think this program is an important first step towards growing a network of STEM educators throughout Southwest Central Indiana."

You can learn more about the STEM Fellow program by clicking here.

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