WNC has opportunity to STEM the tide of slow economy

Press Release

By Stephanie Carroll Carson:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Proponents say it’s a 21st-century approach to education. Now Buncombe County will join almost a dozen other communities in the state in creating STEM-themed high schools. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.) Last week, the State Board of Education approved the Buncombe County high school plans, which were three years in the making.

The school will employ real-world, practical approaches in its preparation of students for the workforce. However, its impact will go far beyond the individual students enrolled, according to Christy Cheek, the school system’s director of career technical education.

“It’s totally about the entire business community and the economy, ensuring that economic prosperity for now and in the future,” Cheek said.

Cheek added that STEM schools offer opportunities to students who might not show signs of success in a traditional school, but with a hands-on approach are able to identify a career path.

Buncombe County is working closely with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce on the STEM High School plan. Cheek said Asheville’s workforce is known for its willingness to repurpose itself based on economic needs, but the county can go one step farther with the new school.

“We want to do the training on the front end, so that if Mission – per se – they know they need some type of employee, we can start training those people early in the pipeline and opening up that pipeline,” she explained.

The Buncombe County school will receive $5 million in lottery money for building renovations. The school has applied for operating funds from the Cooperative Innovative High School Fund, but that money must be approved by the General Assembly. Regardless, Cheek said, the school will open its doors this August.

About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton@gmail.com. Follow me @HayleyTweeet

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.