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‘Workforce of the future’: Warner Robins STEM education grows with grant

Last updated on December 21st, 2023 at 03:46 pm

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — Central Georgia’s future is looking a little more high-tech. The Houston County Development Authority and 21st Century Partnership received over $4 million to advance STEM education starting with Houston County.

It’s thanks to a $65 million federal grant to Georgia Institute of Technology, being distributed around the state.

“We can really capitalize using this money to move us forward together,” says John Kubinec, 21st Century Partnership President.

Kubinec says the grant aims to increase jobs and wage opportunities in distressed and rural communities as part of their Middle Georgia Innovation Project.

“As industry grows here in Georgia we have to have the workforce for the future, and that workforce starts in our K-12 system,” he explains.

Kubinec says they want to get kids excited about STEM, eventually pursue degrees in it, and enter the workforce.

Along with Fort Valley State University and Central Georgia Technical College, they’ll bring students opportunities like scholarships in the STEM field and provide them with some on-the-go learning.

“The mobile STEM learning labs are going to be able to get out into middle and south Georgia and really expose kids to what STEM is about. We’re gonna help our high schools and middle schools with their robotics program and have some funding to help them either enhance their robotics program, or maybe stand one up– maybe– when they’ve never had one before,” he explains.

Kubinec says Robins Air Force Base and other industries are already seeing a shortage of workers, and they want to create job security for future and current ones.

Shakeira Addie lives in Warner Robins and has no problem with that.

“I may need one of those kids one day as I get older to do something for me,” she laughs.

Addie’s two-year-old son is just starting school and she likes that he has opportunities available.

“I came from a school system that didn’t have a lot of educational material for you to be able to learn STEM. So, I think that it’s a great investment that they’re doing for the community, so that kids that want to learn stem are able to,” she says.

The grant program is part of President Federal Build Back Better grants and the Georgia portion is aimed at developing artificial intelligence and manufacturing innovations.

Fort Valley State, Central Georgia Technical college, and the Houston County Development Authority will work with Robins Air Force Base to develop STEM resources in Central Georgia over the next four years.