The Richfield Chamber of Commerce has always been intimately connected to and supportive of Richfield schools. We endorsed the recent successful funding referenda in the community.
Our schools play a vital role in securing the future of Richfield, including its business community. Priorities within education reflect priorities within society as a whole. There is a movement within the U.S. work world to develop skilled workers in occupations in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM). With a decline in traditional manufacturing and a rise in advanced manufacturing, which utilizes new and developing technologies valuable in an information-based economy, STEM demand in the metro area will increase. According to Tim Barrett, director of STEM education and workforce development for the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA), by 2020, Minnesota businesses are going to need more than 153,000 STEM workers (“Building Minnesota’s STEM Workforce”, by Gene Rebeck, Twin Cities Business, 12/30/15, p. 2).
While STEM’s focus has been on higher education, curriculum is also being developed for use among K-12 students. The MHTA has developed a program called getSTEM, which provides teaching materials and equipment to schools. The program also connects schools and students with area businesses.
Here, in Richfield, our schools have incorporated and responded to the interest in STEM. The R-S.T.E.M. elementary school, serving nearly 800 pre-K through 5th grade students, is known for its cutting-edge work in STEM and has started a new partnership with The Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. Richfield schools are serving the community by offering quality educational opportunities geared toward meeting the needs of students and employers, including Richfield High School, Academy of Holy Angels, Adler Graduate School, Bernie’s Montessori & Child Care, Minnesota Life College, Minnesota School of Business, Partnership Academy Charter School, Flex Academy, Fraser, and Seven Hills Preparatory Academy. For a complete list of Richfield schools, visit the directory page on the Chamber’s website here.