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Finia brings a wealth of experience to the Center. She has worked at the Department of Labor for the past 3.5 years, starting as a Senior Workforce Consultant and quickly moved into an into her latest role as a Regional Business Specialist. As a Regional Business Specialist she specifically focused on workforce development in the Technology industry. There she partnered with key stakeholders and helped identify workforce gaps in the community. She collaborated with businesses, community partners, municipal agencies and educational institutions to strategically form long term workforce solutions that allowed companies to grow and thrive; which in turn allowing Idaho to maintain a healthy economy.
She’s been heavily involved with the Junior League of Boise for the past five years. She was very active with the Junior League’s Community Research and Project Development team to enhance STEM education for elementary students with their garden projects. Finia also participates with various school advisory committees, the Boise Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce/Education committee and other tech driven committees around the Valley. Finia serves on the planning committee for the Business Educator Exchange Conference, which offers an opportunity for K-12 educators to connect with businesses and help them understand current and future workforce needs in technology, healthcare and advance manufacturing.
In addition, she has over 10 years of experience leading various projects/teams, planning/coordinating events and volunteering. Her passion is being involved in education initiatives and giving back to the community.
Stephanie continues to demonstrate her extensive working knowledge of Idaho state education systems and has achieved progressive growth throughout her career. She eagerly joined the Idaho STEM Action Center team in October 2016 to lead and guide effective implementation of the Idaho STEM AC Grants and Contracts Programs.
Agendas, Presentations, Minutes
Engineering innovative STEM opportunities for educators, students, communities and industry to build a competitive Idaho workforce and economy.
Produce a STEM competitive workforce by implementing Idaho’s Kindergarten through Career STEM education programs aligned with industry needs.
Introduction, History, and Future:
Idaho is facing a crisis: Idaho citizens are not entering the STEM pipeline at a rate that will meet the current and future workforce needs of Idaho employers and sustain Idaho’s economic development and future prosperity. According to a report by the Idaho Department of Labor, by 2025 Idaho will be lacking approximately 63,000 individuals needed to fill projected positions ranging from construction and service jobs to medical and technology positions, many of which involve STEM-related skills and knowledge. Numerous research studies including the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, Idaho Business for Education and Idaho Department of Labor demonstrate that more than 60% of the projected jobs by 2020 will require a college degree or certificate beyond a high school diploma.
During the 2015 Idaho legislative session, a small group of visionary legislators, education leaders and industry stakeholders began a STEM Caucus that led to legislation creating the Idaho STEM Action Center. House Bill 302 became law on July 1, 2015 (Idaho Code §67-823). This new law permits some flexibility in implementation which will allow the Center to develop unique grant, training, professional development and student opportunities aligned to Idaho’s workforce needs from kindergarten through career. Decisions related to the STEM Action Center are guided by a nine member Board appointed by the Governor. The Board is a unique blend of educational leaders from the State Board of Education and the State Department and seven Idaho industry leaders including the Idaho Department of Labor, the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Micron.
The Idaho STEM Action Center’s enabling legislation focuses on five broad areas:
- Student learning and achievement (including underrepresented populations)
- Student access to STEM including equity issues
- Teacher professional development and opportunities
- College and career STEM pathways
- Industry and workforce needs
During the 2016 legislative session, two pieces of legislation were passed that focused on a statewide computer science initiative. The STEM Education Fund was created through Senate Bill 1279 into which two million dollars was deposited from the state’s general fund to support the computer science initiative (House Bill 379). The legislative intent of the computer science initiative is to increase statewide efforts in computer science awareness and access, kindergarten through career. These efforts will continue to be driven by the needs of Idaho’s industry and developed in partnership with industry, the state board of education, professional-technical education, the state department of education, administrators, educators and the community at large. The ultimate goal is to secure industry participation in the funding of the state’s computer science education initiatives.
The Idaho STEM Action Center supports the recommendations of the Idaho Task Force for Improving Education and the State Board of Education’s STEM Strategic Plan, which support the state’s 60% goal and seeks to meet the workforce needs of Idaho business and industry.
As a result of these statewide efforts, Idaho will become a STEM business destination. Idaho will have a citizenry that not only recognizes the importance of STEM, but also possesses the necessary STEM skills for the workforce. A highly skilled STEM workforce will lead to increased investment and business opportunities throughout Idaho. Educators will have the necessary STEM skills to engage students. Students will possess the 21st century skills that employers require: critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and innovation. The result of this multi-tiered approach will be an increase in the number of businesses in Idaho and the number of STEM jobs available for Idahoans which will serve to bolster Idaho’s economy and lead to long-term economic prosperity for the state and her citizens.
- Idaho STEM AC Legislation
- Computer Science Initiative
- Creation of STEM Education Fund
- STEM School Designation
- CS For ALL
- STEM Diploma
- Idaho Tax Credit Legislation