CenturyLink, City of Monroe and local school partner to invest in STEM education initiative

Courtesy: MGN
Courtesy: MGN
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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) – CenturyLink, Inc. is partnering with the City of Monroe, the Monroe City School System, the Ouachita Parish School System and the Cyber Innovation Center bring a nationally recognized STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum to local students.

“CenturyLink is dedicated to enhancing the communities it serves in a meaningful way and is excited to help bring 21st century skills and curricula to local students,” said Stacey Goff, executive vice president and general counsel for CenturyLink. “We recognize the importance of introducing young people to STEM concepts to better prepare them for successful careers and to build a pipeline of highly skilled employees for the future.”

“Partnerships in Education is number 40 on my 60 for 60 project list,” said Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo. “The City of Monroe is extremely proud to invest in this educational program. STEM competencies help prepare students to be critical thinkers, persevere through challenges, communicate and collaborate to solve complex problems. This effort will help produce a larger highly trained workforce that will benefit northeastern Louisiana as our region continues to grow and prosper.”

“One of the CIC’s primary missions is to develop a sustainable, knowledge-based workforce that can support the growing needs of government, industry, and academia,” said Craig Spohn, executive director & president of the Cyber Innovation Center.

In 2010, the CIC created the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) to advance its academic outreach and workforce development programs across the nation.

The Cyber InterstateTM

NICERC works with its partners to design project-driven, application-based curricula that engage students across primary, secondary, and post-secondary grade levels. The Department of Homeland Security identified NICERC as the national model for cyber education and thus allows for the free distribution of content and curricula.

“CenturyLink is also focused on mitigating cyberattacks for our customers with viable cybersecurity strategies,” Goff said. “This is another area where students can focus their skills as these preventative strategies must address increasingly wide-ranging security issues.”

The Cyber InterstateTM, a robust library of curricula, contains numerous full-year, K-12 courses that are modular in form and hands-on. This design provides teachers and school systems with a rigorous program that showcases a systems-level understanding of real-world applications of STEM and cyber. In addition, this context-based approach to STEM incorporates components of liberal arts, allowing teachers to embed the curricula across multiple disciplines.

“Bringing this program to our schools will help open a world of options to our students,” said Dr. Brent Vidrine, superintendent of the Monroe City School System. “Our teachers are dedicated to preparing our kids for the future and this will be a huge step toward doing that.”

“I couldn’t agree more with the other partners who have helped bring this opportunity to our students that the benefits will be far reaching and meaningful,” said Dr. Don Coker, superintendent of the Ouachita Parish School System. “Anytime we can offer courses that will help our students compete when initiating their careers, we accomplish a win-win for them and our communities.”

“Careers in the fields of STEM are among the fastest growing in the state and in the nation,” said State Superintendent of Education John White. “By introducing Louisiana students to this curriculum throughout their education, we are positioning them for long-term success.”
Registration for students in the Monroe City School System will take place until mid-August. Counselors will send materials home with students about course offerings. However, any parent who wants their student to enroll should contact the student’s counselor and/or the principal. Information about registration for the Ouachita Parish School System will be communicated at a later date.

About CenturyLink
CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is a global communications, hosting, cloud and IT services company enabling millions of customers to transform their businesses and their lives through innovative technology solutions. CenturyLink offers network and data systems management, Big Data analytics and IT consulting, and operates more than 55 data centers in North America, Europe and Asia. The company provides broadband, voice, video, data and managed services over a robust 250,000-route-mile U.S. fiber network and a 300,000-route-mile international transport network. Visit CenturyLink for more information.