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Ivey creates STEM council to inform state on education, workforce development

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday created a new STEM council that will inform state leaders on matters of education and career preparedness as they relate to STEM.

STEM is an acronym of science, technology, engineering and math, and state leaders have long sought to more deeply integrate those subjects into the state’s education system and workforce development pipeline.

“The Alabama STEM Council will play a vital role in ensuring that our state’s future leaders have the opportunity to learn STEM-based skills that will help them transition into successful career pathways upon graduation,” Ivey, who created the council via executive order, on Monday.

The governor explained that Alabama in recent years “has continued to grow into an advanced manufacturing, aerospace engineering and cybertechnology center of excellence and as a result, the demand for qualified labor in these sectors has skyrocketed.”

Dr. Neil Lamb, vice president for Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, will serve as chairman of the Council.

“Our great state is home to several quality STEM-focused education and workforce initiatives. However, we lack a common system to weave these initiatives together into a network that reaches all learners across the state and expands the workforce pipeline,” said Lamb in a statement on Tuesday.

State Representative Terri Collins (R-Decatur) sponsored legislation during the 2020 session that would have created a similar STEM council. Her bill passed the House but was not taken up by the Senate due to the coronavirus pandemic shortening the session.

On Monday, Collins praised Ivey, saying, “I’m extremely pleased the governor is taking the lead with the Executive Order to form the STEM Council.”

“Having the math and science experts from Alabama set high quality standards and guiding student growth in achievement will make a positive difference. Thank you, Governor Ivey, for prioritizing education!” Collins added.

Deputy Commerce Secretary Ed Castile will be heavily involved with the STEM council, according to the governor’s office. Castile runs the Alabama Industrial Development Training Agency that focuses on workforce development across the state.

“With new tech companies developing, manufacturing moving to digital “smart factories” and numerous job opportunities that support these businesses, we must have a workforce that will meet the demands,” Castile remarked on Monday.

“The STEM Council will be crucial in working with K-12 education as they develop their STEM programs to align with Community Colleges and Universities to assist students move along the STEM pathways needed by our developing businesses,” he advised.

Per the governor’s office, the full membership of the STEM council is as follows:

  • Dr. Neil Lamb, vice president for Educational Outreach, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
  • Dr. Charles Nash, University of Alabama System
  • Terry Burkle, Baldwin County Education Foundation
  • Dawn Morrison, Alabama State Department of Education
  • Charisse Stokes, Montgomery Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Vicky Karolewics, president, Wallace State Community College
  • Sheila Holt, AMSTI director, University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Liz Huntley, Lightfoot, Franklin & White
  • RaSheda Workman, Stillman College
  • Dr. Eric Mackey, state superintendent of education
  • Dr. Barbara Cooper, secretary, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Jimmy Baker, chancellor, Alabama Community College System
  • Dr. Jim Purcell, executive director, Alabama Commission on Higher Education
  • Fitzgerald Washington, secretary, Alabama Department of Labor
  • Greg Canfield, secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce
  • Tim McCartney, chairman, Alabama Workforce Council
  • George Clark, president, Manufacture Alabama
  • Dr. Ken Tucker, president, University of West Alabama
  • Dr. Kathryn Lanier, STEM Education Outreach Director, Southern Research
  • Dr. Tina Miller-Way, Dauphin Island Sea Lab
  • Amy Templeton, president and CEO, McWane Science Center
  • Kay Taylor, director of education, U.S. Space and Rocket Center
  • Dr. Mary Lou Ewald, director of outreach, Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics
  • Paul Morin, Alabama SMART Foundation
  • Dr. Adreinne Starks, founder and CEO, STREAM Innovations
  • Dr. Calvin Briggs, founder and director, Southern Center for Broadening Participation in STEM
  • Josh Laney, Director, Alabama Office of Apprenticeship
  • Keith Phillips, executive director, Alabama Technology Network
  • Jimmy Hull, career and technical education director, Alabama State Department of Education
  • Sean Stevens, career coach, Alabama State Department of Education
  • Tina Watts, community investor, The Boeing Company
  • Daryl Taylor, vice president and general manager, Airbus America
  • K-Rob Thomas, power delivery general manager, Alabama Power
  • Dr. Lee Meadows, associate professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Dr. Tim Wick, senior associate dean, School of Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Dr. Robin McGill, director of instruction, Alabama Commission on Higher Education
  • Elisabeth Davis, assistant superintendent of the Division of Teaching and Learning, Alabama State Board of Education
  • Dr. Jeff Gray, professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Alabama
  • Dr. Cynthia McCarty, District 6 representative, Alabama State Board of Education
  • Dr. Andre Harrison, vice president, Cognia
  • Brenda Terry, executive director, Alabama Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering Coalition for Education
  • Tammy Dunn, program director, A+ Education Partnership

The council’s first meeting will be in the next 90 days.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

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