Des Moines Register: New Media Campaign Will Highlight Iowa's STEM Education Efforts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A new media campaign announced Monday aims to boost awareness of the state of Iowa’s effort to encourage students to pursue careers in math and science fields.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad appeared Monday morning at Greenwood Elementary School in Des Moines, where he unveiled a new logo for the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, effort that is being led by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.

He also announced a campaign that will include televised public service announcements, billboards, STEM program “toolkits” and other public relations efforts to make more Iowans aware of the opportunities available to students in STEM careers.

The TV ad will feature Ben Silbermann, the Des Moines native who is the founder of Pinterest, the popular social media site.

“STEM education is a state of mind that our entire state needs to embrace because it is so critical to our future,” Branstad said. “Every Iowa student should have awareness and access to world-class STEM education opportunities.”

Just 26 percent of Iowans know what the “STEM” acronym stands for, he noted, underscoring the need for a media campaign.

Since 2011, the Branstad administration has led an effort to encourage STEM education in Iowa schools. Reynolds is a co-chairwoman of the STEM Advisory Council, which has worked with businesses and local partners across the state to make science and math more appealing to students and highlight the career opportunities available for students with a background in the subjects.

Branstad said Monday the state currently has 10,000 unfilled jobs requiring advanced knowledge in STEM disciplines.

Reynolds did not attend after the flight returning her to Iowa from vacation in Mexico was delayed.

The media campaign, which will kick off in earnest early next year, is valued at more than $300,000. Of that, $150,000 will be paid for by the state, with the other $160,000 coming in donated time and services by Strategic America, a West Des Moines marketing firm.