Polaris Industries is known for providing some of the best recreational vehicles for off-road experiences in the world. The design, manufacturing and distribution of these innovative, high performing vehicles happens every day in Spirit Lake, home to one of the Polaris Industries facilities.
That intensive process will be the focus of an interesting online video for young people to learn about science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM.
A team from the nationally recognized educational resource, Defined STEM, visited Polaris Industries this past week to create a custom video production.
“Defined STEM is a web-based application designed to promote rigorous and relevant connections using STEM content within business and industry settings,” said Kari Webb, Hub Manager of STEM, based at Iowa Lakes Community College.
Defined STEM interviewed people who work at Polaris in a variety of jobs, focusing on how workers use math, language arts, science and technology in their day-to-day work.
“The focus of STEM is extremely well aligned with the skills we look for in employees at all levels at Polaris,” said Brian Hines, Polaris Director of Operations. “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are at the core of what we do. A working knowledge of these skills – combined with real work experiences – are what we look for in potential new employees.”
The “Real World” video sets the stage for a unique educational strategy using practical applications to capture the imagination of middle and high school students.
In addition to Polaris, the video crew – as well as the creator and CEO of Defined STEM, Johnjoe Farragher – were at Quatro Composites in Orange City to oversee the production of two videos and ensure a top quality performance, including literacy tasks.
Funding from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has been used to purchase a regional license to Defined STEM, allowing any educator in Northwest Iowa access to this rich online repository of STEM performance tasks.
“We now have over 500 teachers in our region utilizing Defined STEM,” said Webb. “The creation of new content with direct local connections will allow that number to continue to grow.”
The goal is to help students see a road map to a specific job, and realize the skill-sets needed to achieve that goal. It is estimated that Iowa will have over 72,000 STEM jobs to fill by 2018. These STEM jobs are among the highest paying jobs, and they form the basis for a thriving Iowa economy. Most STEM jobs will require some education beyond high school, such as an Associate’s degree or advance certification.
Iowa Lakes Community College serves as the host site for the Northwest Iowa Regional Hub which is one of six regional network hubs in the state of Iowa. Advancing STEM careers in Iowa is a major initiative of the Governor in an effort to build a public-private partnership with the overarching goal of creating greater student achievement in STEM subjects and building a stronger STEM workforce.
Iowa Lakes works with business, industry, educational institutions and nonprofit groups to best fit local needs, interests and resources while advancing economic development throughout the Northwest Region.
Brian Hines being interviewed by Johnjoe Farragher