In 2015 the legislature established the Governor’s Michigan Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (MiSTEM) Advisory Council with annual duties such as creating and recommending changes to a statewide STEM strategy and granting out state school aid dollars in support of STEM education efforts. Why might you care about MiSTEM? In 2017 the legislature set dollars aside to create a MiSTEM Network plan that transformed our state into 16 regional networks made up of business, higher education, K-12 education, and philanthropic leaders guided by the recommendations of the Council members—a collective impact model similar to the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN).

Efforts such as MCAN have proven successful in bringing together members of their communities interested in a common goal—to increase the percentage of Michigan residents with a college degree or valuable credential to 60% by the year 2025. This is a goal that MiSTEM also applauds and believes they can collaboratively work to impact. MiSTEM brings together interested partners to impact four pillars which make up the foundation of the statewide STEM strategy:

  1. Create a culture of STEM,
  2. Empower STEM teachers,
  3. Integrate business & education, and
  4. Ensure high-quality STEM experiences.

These four pillars do not work in isolation from each other, but instead operate as an integrated vision of STEM. In fact, all components of the MiSTEM Network plan work together to build a robust STEM culture in our state that is focused on providing STEM learning experiences that not only move forward workforce talent development, but also significantly contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of our communities. Enacting the four pillars will require many people in many different parts of the system to redefine and transform their beliefs about teaching and learning, as well as their professional roles, relationships, and collaborative practices. We believe that these four pillars working together will help to reinvigorate our education system by identifying and building onto community assets that provide authentic contexts for learning, but also rich career awareness, exploration, and preparation experiences at the same time.

We invite you to join one of the 16 regional networks to reimagine what is possible and scale up what works across our state. We would also welcome the opportunity to meet with your groups to see how we might better align efforts in support of building an aligned education and workforce development system that serve to significantly increase our postsecondary credential earning!

The Council released their annual recommendations in January as well as announced the grant recipients for the year. We hope that you will review the recommendations and engage with us on this journey.

Megan Schrauben works for the State of Michigan as the Executive Director of the MiSTEM Network.