Truly, we live in a very competitive world. Our local businesses all have to compete for workers. In fact, one can say that the quality of their talent will determine how successful their businesses will be in the future. As robots continue to emerge and more advanced Artificial Intelligence heads our way, it only makes sense to have discussions with our children about the importance of STEAM.

S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, and was created to foster passions for the arts and sciences in children. These areas of education are all similar in that they require critical thinking for problem solving, and have many avenues of inquiry. Teachers use hands-on projects and real-world scenarios to help students come up with innovative solutions that they can apply throughout their lives. STEAM’s foundations lie in inquiry, critical thinking, and process-based learning, according to the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM.

Pandemic or no, the importance of STEAM in the workplace continues to rise unabated. Around the office, we’ve been chattering about a “STEAM Night” happening at Chippewa Falls High School on March 15th. This is a night when parents, industries, and students come together to share ideas and projects while discussing future careers. The Cognizant Center for the Future of Work publishes a yearly report about the future of work in 2030, which highlights jobs that will emerge over the next decade and become central to businesses and employees. All of these future career opportunities require a mastery of STEAM skills.

This symphony between art and science can be seen in just about everything, from a drawing of a cell in a high school biology textbook to a 3-D rendering of a plastic fastener. The world is changing constantly, and as such, education should change along with it. Familiarizing students with the connections between the arts and sciences, as well as teaching them to think outside the box, will greatly improve their well-being and build their soft skills.

You may be wondering – how does this all relate to economic development? Well, economic development’s foundation lies in ensuring a world for the next generation; ensuring a future for our children and grandchildren. One of the most important components of this foundation is the next generation of workers: students. The breadth of educational and vocational opportunities that local students have are directly related to both a community’s talent pipeline and the composition of its working adults as well as businesses.

CEDC invites you to take a couple of hours out of your evening and discover the world of future careers: Human-Machine Team Managers, Immersion Counselors, Data Detectives, or Organic Robot Builders. Join the Chippewa Valley business and educational community at Chippewa Falls High School on March 15th for a great night of innovation and discovery.