Missouri state conference to address state of STEM education

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COLUMBIA - The market for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is continuing to grow across the nation, and some educators in Missouri are doing more to foster related education.

Nearly 1,000 Missouri educators were expected to attend a STEM conference in Columbia at Battle High School Friday. Missouri S&T is hosting the conference in partnership with Project Lead the Way.

Project Lead the Way is a non-profit organization that provides schools across the nation with materials and training to increase STEM learning in the classroom.

Project Lead the Way expects 143,000 STEM jobs to be available in Missouri by 2018. To meet the demand, the organization strives to engage students, especially women and minorities, early in STEM education.

One educator at Benton Elementary, who works with Project Lead the Way, said she thinks those goals can be met if students are made aware of careers that are available.

"It's just a matter of being more purposeful about the wide range of career opportunities that are out there for our kids, no matter what gender or background you come from," STEM specialist Dr. Heather McCullar said.

Guest speakers at the conference includeD the CEO of Project Lead the Way and Gov. Nixon.