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Aerospace Conference Drives Home Need for STEM Education

October 10, 2012, Ft. Worth, TX – Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell today pitched the work Alaska and other states are doing together to encourage enhanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

As chairman of the Aerospace States Association (ASA), Treadwell led a panel discussion at a national aerospace manufacturing conference in Texas.

Treadwell’s panel included his counterparts from Oklahoma, Alabama and Iowa, who discussed cooperative ways to help U.S. aerospace businesses be more competitive. America’s workforce is falling behind in science and engineering capabilities, they told industry leaders.

“This meeting drove home for me the absolute importance of our students’ readiness in math and science,” Treadwell said. “It is essential for the United States’ competitive position and for national security.”

The conference showcased programs that prepare and encourage students to take tougher courses in math and science, such as Governor Sean Parnell’s Alaska Performance Scholarships. Other STEM education programs in Alaska are numerous, including the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC), a national competition sponsored by ASA in which Alaska students design new aircraft. RWDC provides $1 million worth of design software to each participating school.

Alaska’s 47,000 aerospace jobs are about ten percent of the state’s workforce today. Treadwell said Alaska is growing its aerospace business in global markets.

“From expanding the role of our international airport system in global air cargo, to the state’s recent multimillion dollar investment in unmanned aerial systems research, to our new partnership that could significantly expand the Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska is helping move this industry forward.”

Treadwell welcomed participation from representatives of Alaska’s Tyonek Native Corporation, a provider of aviation maintenance, information technology and cyberspace training support services.

The conference was convened by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide.

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