STEM Day at the Capitol • Florida’s Science Centers & Museums Engage Legislators and Advocate for More Funding

Two women during welcome to stem day event
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Florida educators share the importance of science education during STEM Day at the Capitol

Orlando Science Center is partnering with museums, science centers, educators, and corporations from around the state at STEM Day at the Capitol in Tallahassee on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. The goal is to engage legislators about the critical role that Science Centers and museums play in inspiring and creating the STEM workforce of tomorrow while also advocating for increased funding to support these efforts.

Participants will be stationed inside and outside the Capitol building with experiments, displays, robots, and more! Throughout the day, state legislators will take part in hands-on activities while learning how STEM education helps grow Florida’s technological workforce. Science museums act as a hub for STEM learning and can easily facilitate opportunities between industry, education, and the public. It is one of the few places where these three audiences can easily and effectively connect for discussion and demonstration.

During STEM Day at the Capitol, participating partners, including student groups, will share their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with legislators, demonstrating the impact that their efforts can have on economic development across the state. STEM has evolved to become a critically important topic in education and industry. Our country’s standing in the global marketplace is dependent on our ability to compete with other nations in technological innovation. Such success requires an educated populated and skilled workforce.

Science literacy not only leads to a better understanding of life’s problems, but it promotes the development of skills to help solve them. Through study and experimentation, we acquire knowledge, which leads to understanding, innovation and ultimately prosperity. Regardless of the field they enter, tomorrow’s workforce must have a strong grasp of 21st century skills like problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. These skills are reinforced through active, challenge-based activities offered at museums and science centers.

two mean practicing virtual reality flying during STEM Day at the capitol

In recent years, less than one-third of university students in the United States have chosen to pursue a STEM field. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations are predicted to increase 10.5% between 2020 and 2030 with the median annual wage more than double that of non-STEM occupations. Industry must partner with educational institutions and informal learning centers like science museums to start preparing the future workforce for jobs that don’t even exist yet.

STEM Day at the Capitol illustrates how collaborations with industry and academia can help fill the STEM pipeline, and we are excited to take part in the event. Such partnerships provide opportunities to engage youth by bringing STEM subjects to life. By presenting the real-world applications of STEM skills in compelling ways, students are inspired to pursue further education and careers in STEM fields.