Prairie STEM (was founded as a 501(c)3 in 2013. The original charter established the Nonprofit as “dedicated to encouraging K-12 learners to investigate and follow technical career paths by sponsoring engaging and hands-on activities in the classroom and learning activities outside the classroom.” It sought “to engage K-12 grade students to encourage them to follow careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”
Prairie STEM’s primary operation was engaging the lost and forgotten disadvantaged students of Omaha Public Schools.
The Prairie STEM Board of Directors and employees met in December of 2016 to create and build an innovative strategic plan. Board members that were present include Bing Chen, Gary Gates, Del Weber, Nancy Williams, Curtis Beeson, Ken Bird and Jeff Jensen. Also present were Prairie STEM’s Executive Director, Anna Sumner, and Projects Development Director, Alan Wang.
Over the past 11 months, the focus has evolved. Its model combines the rigor and innovation of instructional leadership programs with authentic community partnerships and family engagement to transform regional economies through the talent development of all urban and rural students. This effort will cause for old paradigms to die. Transformational system-wide reforms will be needed which are driven by the needs of the future economy skills that cannot be automated.
Omaha’s industries, government, schools, and foundations share in the challenge of stocking Omaha’s shelves with dynamic young human capital. Prairie STEM 2.0 has emerged from the cocoon of Prairie STEM 1.0 to be a local/state vehicle that maximizes local and national resources to solve this challenge. The Challenge is to create the most dynamic workforce “White collar, Blue Collar, and New Collar” in America.
The synergy between the regional stakeholders and the vast amount of urban and rural K-12 human capital must be connected in high frequency, authentic and innovative manners in order to match the unknown needs of tomorrow. It is imperative to adapt our collective paradigm to focus on force multiplication and connection.
Prairie STEM abides by an unwavering belief in the importance of people in driving change. Exceptional integrity, with the ability to stay true to our own cause and purpose while incorporating the opinions, needs, and feedback of others.