OUR WORK: EDUCATION
“We have a message for Washington students – we’re waiting for you. We know we need your talent, your passion, your creativity, and your intellect.”
-Sue Desmond Hellman, CEO, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
ESTABLISHING A WORLD-CLASS WORKFORCE RIGHT HERE AT HOME
The future of our economy depends on today’s young people. If we want a thriving region that provides opportunities for all, we must cultivate a world-class workforce to drive it. Yet today, less than 1/3 of Washington state high school students go on to receive a post-secondary credential – while at least 2/3 of the region’s jobs require a degree or specialized skills. This math doesn’t work.
As major employers in the region, we are partnering with community organizations and other businesses to change this equation by inspiring students, supporting teachers, and collaborating with school leadership. We are taking concrete actions to bring our unique resources to the table—opening our doors to provide access to career experiences, real-world curriculum applications, and an inside look at the skill needs and job opportunities our region has to offer.
Challenge Seattle—with the help of the Community Center for Education Results and employers throughout the region—is providing tours for more than 1,000 South King County high school students each fall and spring.
Future dreams are bound by past experiences. For many students in our community, they have never had the opportunity to see what kinds of jobs are out there. “Career Discovery Tours” expand first-hand knowledge of career opportunities and examples of the real-world application of classroom concepts. Research shows that field trips increase students’ positive attitudes towards learning, enhance interest, motivation, and engagement, result in longer term recall, and influence skills development and careers.
The day-long “Career Discovery” Tours include career panels, work-site tours, and hands-on interactive experiences that showcase the vast array of jobs and career pathways in our region. These tours are one way Challenge Seattle is supporting the region’s DiscoverU effort to bring Career and College exploration into the classroom.
Challenge Seattle in partnership with the Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS) is providing industry externships for South King County teachers, helping them bring cutting-edge science, technology, math, and engineering applications into the classroom. One teacher can impact 150 students each year. By building teachers’ capacity to develop an engaging, relevant curriculum, we amplify the impact on student achievement and job preparedness.
Teacher Externs complete a rich, three-week summer training that combines professional development from WABS and University of Washington faculty with on-site externship placement at a Challenge Seattle company. Through hands-on experience, teachers gain insights about aspects of the business, employer-valued skills, and the career pathways available to their students. Teachers then create a curriculum unit taught and shared with other teachers that provides students with examples of how their learning is linked to future career options.
Challenge Seattle, in partnership with the University of Washington and with founding support from Microsoft, has established the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX). Offering graduate degrees in STEM fields, GIX is a new model of experiential education and practice created to develop leaders in innovation.
GIX’s interdisciplinary, project-based curriculum brings top faculty and learners from across disciplines and around the world to work in close collaboration with industry partners and leading entrepreneurs from diverse industries. Students learn to take an innovative idea from concept to development and on to launch, creating solutions to global challenges such as health, sustainability, and social equity.