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Rapid City, SD—Society’s greatest innovations have come from individuals who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). After decades of grassroots efforts to inspire and inform the community about the seeds of innovation, RESPEC is proud to launch “STEM—GO FOR IT!” With over 20 locations across the US and Canada, RESPEC helps to support students who are ready to seize the life-changing opportunity of studying a STEM field. By reaching out to historically underrepresented youth, RESPEC’s volunteer team is ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn more about the benefits of pursuing a STEM track. “Giving a child confidence in his or her ability to pursue and learn STEM skills is like giving them wings to fly,” said RESPEC’s CEO/President, Todd Kenner.

As a STEM-focused corporation doing outreach for almost 50 years, RESPEC is using its considerable geographic and professional reach to find and leverage resources to make STEM learning, mentoring, and scholarships available for students of all ages. Why the rush? STEM occupations in the US are projected to grow at an accelerated pace. In only 3 years, this acceleration will result in 2.6 million job openings. Furthermore, labor statistics show that the US is projected to have 55 million new jobs by 2020, with most of the fastest growing occupations in STEM areas.

Leading innovation through educational proficiency in STEM is an important part of RESPEC’s vision for the extended community. RESPEC engineers understand the huge personal impact of educating and mentoring young people. RESPEC is a think tank of STEM professionals, and RESPEC volunteers know the excitement and reward of their own careers and enjoy sharing this with teachers and students of every age. As business and industry leaders, RESPEC leadership also knows that STEM is the key to our nation’s technological and business strength, and fuels successful job creation.

Infusing classroom education with professional experience creates a powerful learning environment for students who may fear entering a STEM track or avoid STEM altogether. Therefore, RESPEC volunteers are “high-tech and high-touch” when collaborating with students and teachers, industry and community, and even concerned parents. With a professional staff of nearly 300 employees across North America, RESPEC makes a huge difference, whether visiting one school at a time or one student at a time. RESPEC’s team knows that the future is counting on unique individuals to become tomorrow’s brilliant engineers, scientists, inventors, data experts, and mathematicians.

Reaching students from kindergarten through college, RESPEC supports high-quality STEM events and projects to ensure that young people are encouraged in early education and students are prepared for any of 50 STEM occupations upon graduation. RESPEC’s vision is to spark youth, parents, teachers, and community leaders with the value of early STEM studies. Citing STEM as the key to innovation, Mr. Kenner says that a STEM focus in education will “help students capture high-paying jobs after college” and make the US even more competitive in the global economy.  RESPEC is committed to encouraging youth to pursue STEM education and learn how the world’s greatest inventors and thinkers dare to dream and innovate.