Sen. Franken Backs STEM Education to Help Close Skills Gap

By KBJR News 1

February 22, 2013 Updated Feb 22, 2013 at 10:12 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The growing demand for a highly skilled work force has lawmakers looking for ways to educate the workers of the future.

U.S. Senator Al Franken is an outspoken advocate for better Science Technology and engineering education in our schools.

Sen. Franken spoke to K-12 teachers about the importance of STEM education at the Science Teacher's Expo at the DECC on Friday.

The Senator spoke about his love for science and how important it is to have teachers who are well educated and can teach these subjects well.

In order to do that, Sen. Franken has been instrumental in implementing the STEM Teachers Program in higher education to better prepare future educators.

The main components of the STEM Teacher's Program is to keep the best teachers educating our kids.

As such they would have a higher salary and they would also mentor other teachers who are in the program.

Sen. Franken says by implementing this program throughout Minnesota's higher education system we can attract and keep the best teachers available.

Elementary and high school educators recognize that children learn from hands on experience and problem solving, which are important life skills.

"Kids remember 90 percent of what they do...and that's what real life is, its doing. I don't know how often in your job they ask you to take a test, and ask you to sit down and answer some questions on a work sheet, they ask you to problem solve," said Elizabeth Kersting- Peterson who teaches first grade at Piedmont Elementry in Duluth.

Peterson also said kids get excited for "Science Fridays" where she has kids do various hands on activities revolving around science.

Senator Franken hopes the SETM initive will help close the skills gap that the state and the nation is facing.

The skills gap is where there are jobs available, but there are not enough people with the right qualifications to fill them.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com