Duluth, Minn. – STARBASE Minnesota – Duluth has received a $15,000 sponsorship to its classroom expansion campaign from local architectural, engineering, and planning firm, LHB, Inc.
“LHB has a history with both of the STARBASE STEM education programs in the state and we know the impact it is having on students that have attended the program here in Duluth,” said Bill Bennett, Chairman of LHB and former CEO. “STEM education is vitally important for the youth of our community and helps strengthen STEM-related companies like LHB. We want to ignite a passion in them for these pursuits and the opportunities they create for their future.”
STARBASE Minnesota is a nonprofit education organization that delivers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum to area fifth graders. Headquartered in St. Paul, STARBASE expanded to Duluth in July 2017, where it offers the unique learning experience in two classrooms at the 148th Fighter Wing on the Minnesota Air National Guard Base. Due to the overwhelming demand for the program, STARBASE is pleased to have started an expansion project to accommodate many more youth from around the region. STARBASE held a ground breaking ceremony earlier this fall on November 6th for its new 7,000 square-foot area site at the 148th Fighter Wing headquarters building. The expansion will provide four dedicated classrooms equipped with a variety of technologies that will enable the program to serve more than 2,500 students annually. The program is currently operating at capacity, poised to serve over 1,500 students this 2019-2020 school year.
“Being that LHB is a major STEM corporation in the Duluth community, having their support of the program in this way is extremely impactful and meaningful for the STARBASE expansion project,” said Charity Johnson, STARBASE Minnesota – Duluth director.
STARBASE is designed to help develop the next generation workforce. Employment in science and engineering occupations is expected to increase at almost four times the rate for other occupations. STARBASE highlights engineering challenges throughout its curriculum. Having LHB as a program partner provides students in the program the ability to engage with real-world engineers like those who are employed at LHB and other STEM organizations in Duluth and the surrounding region.
“The continued support from the organizations and corporations in the area is proof that we are filling a need that is vital to the growth of STEM careers in our community. The students we serve represent demographics that typically go underserved in STEM including students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, those from rural communities and even females who represent only 28% of all STEM careers. STARBASE brings a level of STEM expertise and technology that is not readily available to schools and we can provide that to them free of charge,” said Johnson.
“LHB has a corporate culture that is very similar to what students participate in at STARBASE,” Bennett said. “Our staff and culture thrive on diversity and communication. These values drive our ideas, our creativity and our energy and give us an open attitude about seeing other valuable viewpoints. I see that same energy for creative problem solving and communication in the STARBASE program.”
STARBASE was created in 1991 and is a program of the Department of Defense and Minnesota National Guard. Its free, hands-on STEM curriculum aligns with state and national standards. Students spend 25 hours across five days on-site with their class focusing on real-world problem solving and applications using cutting-edge technologies. The immersive approach enables students to become more aware of STEM in the world around them and gain confidence through their success.
To learn more about STARBASE visit http://www.starbasemn.org.
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