Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Rick Crawford announced his second annual STEM and Manufacturers Tour in the 1st District of Arkansas. The STEM and Manufacturers tour places focus on the challenges STEM educators and manufacturers face and starts a conversation on what needs to be done to improve STEM education. In March of 2016 Crawford hosted the first tour after realizing the disconnect between STEM educators and manufactures.
Being a member of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, Crawford’s goal is to promote and support career and technical education throughout the U.S. Currently, there is a wide gap gap between jobs available in the field and workers qualified for the available positions. In fact, more than 82 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage in skilled workers.
“After meeting with both STEM educators and manufacturers, and hearing the challenges they are facing I knew this was something I needed to do. I expect this year’s event as successful as the event in 2016. In the U.S. there are over 500,000 computing jobs available and 1,582 of those open positions are in Arkansas. Let’s continue to open the gab of opportunity for students around the U.S. by creating the environment for them to learn the necessary skills,” said Crawford.
A majority of schools in the U.S. do not tech rigorous computer science courses. As a result students who do not wish to seek a college education are left with limited options. STEM education programs create a new opportunity for students, who would not otherwise have the opportunity STEM manufacturing provides.
“Students all over the U.S. have different aspirations and learn differently and our education system should reflect that. Some students do not desire to attend a four-year college, while others do. The point is we should provide a chance for each student to succeed, and STEM education is an essential building stone we can use to create an environment of opportunity,” said Crawford.
This year’s tour will begin on Monday, July 17 and conclude Friday, July 21. Around 30 educators will tour 14 factories total during their week-long visit.
The kick-off to the event will begin Monday at 8:30 a.m. at Arkansas State University with Crawford in attendance. Directly from their educators will be given the opportunity to see Frito-Lay, Trinity Rail, Camil, and Hytrol.
Tuesday, the group will travel to Fiber Energy Products and Future Fuel with Congressman Crawford’s staff, who will be in attendance this day and the days leading up to Firday.
Wednesday, the group will have the opportunity to visit three manufacturers, CAVU Aerospace, Lennox, and Riceland.
The following day, Tenneco Monroe, Pocahontas Aluminum, and Custom, Pak, Inc.
On the final day, Crawford will be present for the tours. They will first start out at Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. and then conclude at Big River Steel.