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Extreme Stem Tour

Highlighting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Careers
through Education Matters Initiative

What is the Education Matters EXTREME STEM Tour? It is 1330 eighth graders learning about STEM careers through behind the scenes tours in business and industry, while additionally learning about local post secondary education and training through Catawba Valley Community College, the NC Center for Engineering Technologies, and the military. FIVE full days of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) — the experience — PRICELESS!

How did it come about? As a recipient of a Golden Leaf Foundation grant, Catawba County Schools (CCS) was required to introduce 8th graders to STEM careers. With the Education Matters partnership in place, and over 140 businesses partners committed to supporting education, CCS contacted Education Matters to create a Stem Tourplan. Taking 8th graders into businesses to meet people in various levels/positions, while getting to see the work environment seemed to be an innovative way to introduce the students to STEM careers. With months of planning, and an “extreme” schedule the EXTREME STEM Tour was created. The goal was for 8th grade students to be more aware of local opportunities in STEM based careers, and to also understand the importance of taking higher levels of math and science course work while in high school to be prepared for the next level of training needed for these types of positions. Businesses that participated in the Extreme STEM Tour ’12 include Benco Steel, Catawba County EcoComplex, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Century Furniture, Charlotte Charter Jet, Commercial Fabricators, Corning Cable Systems, Duke Energy, Ethan Allen, Flowers Baking Co. of Newton, Frye Regional Medical Center, General Dynamics, GKN Driveline, Graystone Eye, Hickory Business Furniture, IFH, LEE Industries, National Guard Armory, NC Center for Engineering Technologies, Sarstedt, Shurtape Technologies, Turbocoating, Vanguard Furniture and von Drehle Corporation.

An initiative of Catawba Valley Community College, Education Matters develops partnerships with local school districts, the community college, four-year institutions, government agencies, and business and industry to provide a comprehensive community-based approach to education and career awareness. Education Matters, created three years ago, works with the partners to increase the value of education and educational attainment by helping students understand the importance of earning a high school diploma, plus the postsecondary education and training necessary to secure employment in our community. Education Matters works with local school system Career & Technical Education administrators to prepare high school students by developing Career & College Portfolios and by administering the WorkKeys assessment to earn a Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) prior to graduation. This fall every 10th grader in Catawba County will begin the Education Matters certification process.

The Education Matters EXTREME STEM Tour was such a success that this experience will be offered to 8th grade students in Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools in the fall of 2012.


For more information or to become an Education Matters business partner contact Tracy Hall, Director at 828.327.7000 x4851 or by email,