Project STEAM 21 connects with the community

Project STEAM 21 connects with the communityOwego Apalachin School District Superintendent Cory Green speaks at a press conference announcing Project STEAM 21, a 21st Century Community Alliance. Project STEAM 21 not only readies students to work in an evolving field, but prepares the community to lean into STEAM initiatives as well. (Photo by Jacob Elsbree)

Owego Apalachin Central School District Superintendent Cory Green introduced to the community Project STEAM 21, an alliance that incorporates STEAM programs not just into the school district, but the community. He was joined by community stakeholders to discuss what this project means for the future of Owego. 

The project began six months ago with a series of collective impact meetings where community members and stakeholders gather to discuss what the community needs in order to advance in a society that is leaning into STEAM initiatives.

“This alliance and this partnership not only benefits kids,” Green said, “but it benefits the entire community and the future of the community.”

STEAM initiatives, or science, technology, engineering, agriculture/arts and math, is about bringing all aspects together for students to enter the workforce. Green used the example of advanced manufacturing. A worker may be using machines, but there are also aspects of design, math, science, financing marketing, and advertising and so on behind the initial machine. 

“It’s all coming together to meet the needs of the students,” he said. 

STEAM programs expose students to think critically, to be creative and to be collaborative with other students, which will carry on to when they leave the school, bettering themselves and the community. 

Senator Fred Akshar spoke on Friday as well. 

“Community changes, society changes and you too have to change,” Akshar said about education being different then it was even 10 years ago. 

Akshar added, “The only thing that you need to be successful is for the adults in the room to create those opportunities. This initiative is doing that.”

Jamie Holliday, Boys and Girls Club executive director, has been on the Project STEAM 21 Steering Committee since the beginning and has been exploring different ways the Boys and Girls Club could provide for the initiative. 

Project STEAM 21 fits with the Boys and Girls Club goals. The club’s tagline is “Great futures start here,” and Holliday said, “We’re striving to prepare young people for great futures and a big part of that is collaboration with community alliances like project STEAM 21.”

For now, Holliday is helping the most with the project by offering the club space, which is used by adults during the day and for kids with their evolving after-school programs. 

“If I’m going to dream real big, I would want some sort of technology incubator where people in the community will be able to come and come to work collaboratively with others,” Holliday said. 

Green emphasizes that this partnership with the community not only helps current students, but future students and the future of the community. 

“The collective impact of the community working together to benefit itself will change the workforce and bring great things to the area,” he said, adding, “Being able to collaborate with all the different stake holders and understand exactly what the needs are in the entire community, from workforce development to housing, to understanding the makeup of our entire community is really important for us.”

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