Assemblymember Thurmond, educators, students, and business partners held a town hall about preparing students for the 21st century economy

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Town Hall Addressed STEM Education Programs and Workforce Development for Students

San Diego - Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D – Richmond), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education, participated in a town hall on Thursday, October 5, 2017. The town hall was hosted by San Diego Unified School District and focused on STEM education and workforce development for students. Panel included educators, students, business partners, and other private sector leaders. The discussion covered STEM curriculum, workforce development programs, and best practices to prepare our students for the 21st-century economy.

"We need to make sure that every California student is ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Assemblymember Thurmond. “The demand for jobs in STEM is increasing at a rapid pace. We need to get a better understanding of how we can best engage our students in STEM education. That’s why it’s important that we include students, educators, and business partners in this discussion.”

Over the last ten years, employment in STEM jobs has grown faster than employment in non-STEM jobs. Data from the United States Department of Commerce shows that in 2015 there were 9.0 million STEM workers in the United States. About 6.1 percent of all workers are in STEM occupations, an increase from 5.5 percent just five years earlier.

“As the second-largest district in the state, we are keenly aware of our obligation to prepare our students for the California economy of the future, said Cindy Marten, Superintendent San Diego Unified School District. We also believe every student has a right to academic rigor, and that necessarily includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM. That is why we have STEM programs in all our schools, including -- just this year – an initiative that is putting makerspaces in every middle school. “As you heard today, one of the reasons we have been able to offer every student access to STEM is because of our wonderful partners, including some who are here today. This meeting of students, teachers, STEM employers and legislators at Clairemont High School today has presented a rare teachable moment for all of us to talk and learn from each other.”

In attendance for the town hall were Superintendent Cindy Marten, San Diego Unified School District; Principal Jennifer Roberson, Clairemont High School; Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab; Northrup Grumman Corporation; San Diego Gas & Electric; and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“As a technology leader with deep roots in California and San Diego, Northrop Grumman is committed to supporting K-12 STEM education and developing the next generation of math and science professionals,” said Dan Nieman, Corporate Citizenship Manager with Northrop Grumman. “Bringing together elected leaders, educators, and the private sector is critical to solving gaps in skill sets vital to the future of our state, region, and our nation.”

The STEM Town Hall took place at Clairemont High School in San Diego. The forum included a STEM showcase, where students displayed projects and answered questions from guests and town hall participants.

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.