Utah businesses working to make science, math sexy
Future jobs • Businesses donate $2 million for STEM initiative.
Published: January 30, 2014 12:03PM
Updated: January 30, 2014 05:05PM
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Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Gov. Gary Herbert speaks about STEM to students at Neil Armstrong Academy in West Valley City Thursday January 30, 2014. The STEM Action Center, created by the Legislature last year as part of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, is launching a business-funded media campaign to "win the hearts and minds” of parents, students and community in improving the interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Utah businesses will kick in $2 million to promote the state’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative, the Utah governor and business leaders announced Thursday.

The media campaign, which will include television commercials, radio, billboards and online messages, will be aimed at persuading students — and their parents — that STEM subjects and careers are cool. The campaign is called “STEM Utah: Curiosity Unleashed.”

It was launched in an event at Neil Armstrong Academy, a STEM-centered elementary in West Valley City.

“Imagine what students could achieve if they caught the vision of their own capability to be successful with STEM topics,” said Jeffery R. Nelson, president and chief executive of Nelson Labs. Nelson is chairman of the STEM Action Center board.

The board oversees the STEM Action Center, which the 2013 Legislature created as part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Its purpose is to help Utah’s students become better prepared for jobs in technology and science.

“STEM jobs are the jobs of Utah’s future,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a news release.

Herbert had challenged the business community to support STEM education.

Besides raising awareness of science and technology jobs among students and their parents, the campaign is designed to get the word out among businesses that schools and the STEM initiative need their help.

Many already are helping. IM Flash, a flash memory maker, donated 70 refurbished computers to a lab at Tooele Junior High last fall.

ATK Thiokol for years has had the Expanding Your Horizons project, hosting Utah girls for a day of science and math exploration.

Among the 30 businesses that are part of the campaign and represented at the event Thursday were Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, eBay, Nelson Labs, IM Flash, Adobe, Merit Medical, ATK, Energy Solutions, US Synthetic, Chevron, NuSkin, Fidelity and Boeing, according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

kmoulton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @KristenMoulton