Governor Jay Inslee and his wife Trudy visited ESD 112 to meet with school, business and community leaders in April to learn more about the Southwest Washington STEM Network, a transformative public-private initiative that brings K-12, higher education and business together to address Career Connected Learning. The SW Washington STEM Network model caught the attention of Governor Inslee as a successful approach to education reform.

Governor Inslee greets Mt Pleasant Superintendent Vicki Prendergast as SEH America’s Ben Bagherpour, ESD 112 Superintendent Tim Merlino and STEM Network Director Ted Feller look on. Mt. Pleasant is one of the district members of the STEM Network.

STEM Network Director Ted Feller and SEH America’s Ben Bagherpour shared information about the education and training gap that currently exists in high demand jobs, leaving many local businesses without access to a qualified talent pool. The Network provides students college and career-related learning with mentors and coaches, rigorous STEM dual credit coursework and work-based learning experiences. The Governor said the Southwest Washington Stem Network model is one he’s interested in “bragging about” as he further shapes Washington’s Career-Connected Learning initiatives.

“We are so pleased with the partnership surrounding the STEM Network and what it means for students and employers throughout our region,” said ESD 112 Superintendent Tim Merlino. “It’s so rewarding to see K-12, higher ed, and businesses working together to make such a great impact. We appreciated Governor Inslee’s visit to learn more about the SW Washington STEM Network.”