On the heels of National STEM/STEAM Day held on November 8, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) has launched the Greater New Orleans Region One Center of STEM (GNOrocs), as one of Louisiana’s Regional STEM Network Centers. The Louisiana Board of Regents LaSTEM Advisory Council created nine regional STEM Network Centers, which operate as a system of STEM leadership entities strategically positioned across Louisiana to improve access to STEM education, participation, and advancement. This includes closing the opportunity gap for underserved and underrepresented populations to engage in Louisiana’s STEM workforce.
“GNO, Inc. is honored to play a central role in helping the growth and success of STEM education in Southeast Louisiana,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “As the Region 1 STEM Network Center, GNO, Inc. is launching the Greater New Orleans Region One Center for STEM (GNOrocs) initiative that will be working closely with stakeholders across the region to develop programming that is innovative, collaborative, and industry-driven to increase diverse STEM talent pipelines. Through the work of the Center, GNO, Inc. is dedicated to growing the STEM ecosystem and establishing a regional STEM brand that showcases Greater New Orleans as a top producer of STEM talent. In the end, local companies will find the workers they need and our economy will thrive with the work that the Region One Center for STEM will execute with regional partners.”
GNOrocs will develop industry-driven STEM programs, facilitate partnerships, and coordinate resources to increase collaboration between the numerous STEM initiatives in the region and across the state. Together with a strong network of diverse partners that serve on the Region 1 STEM Network Center Advisory Committee, GNO, Inc. is dedicated to building strong foundations of STEM literacy, while increasing diversity and inclusion in STEM, and preparing the workforce for the jobs of today, and of the future.
“STEM continues to be an economic driver in Louisiana and is a top priority of mine to increase participation and access to education in these fields,” said Louisiana State Senator Sharon Hewitt. “The creation of the LaSTEM Advisory Council and the nine regional STEM Network Centers across the state aims to create a strong STEM culture and promotes activities that raise awareness of STEM education and career opportunities. The Centers will be the backbone to driving collaboration and partnerships that are creating industry-driven solutions. I look forward to working with GNO, Inc. to build awareness and create a strong ecosystem that will increase underrepresented communities in STEM fields and showcasing Louisiana as the go-to-state for STEM talent.”
GNOrocs will create a strong regional STEM brand of regional assets that are preparing talent pipelines for business and industry. Additionally, GNO, Inc. has launched a STEM ecosystem website that will create a “one-stop-shop” of regional STEM partners, initiatives, alongside information about STEM industries, and data about STEM careers in the region.
“Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills are the foundation of 21st century careers. Cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, drones, alternative energies, aerospace engineering, and many more exciting career fields all require a strong background in STEM education,” said LaSTEM Program Administrator Dr. Clint Coleman. “LaSTEM recognizes that for Louisiana to meet the current and future workforce demands it will require a strong statewide commitment to STEM education. Our team is excited to see the launch of GNOrocs and look forward to working together on meeting the education goals for the New Orleans region and beyond.”
The GNOrocs initiative brings together a vast network of partners from higher education, non-profits, economic and workforce development, and preK-12, to name a few. The goal of GNOrocs is to create a strong ecosystem, brand, and collective voice for STEM growth in Southeast Louisiana and across the state.
GNO, Inc. hired a STEM Director, Daphine Barnes, to oversee GNOrocs and to assist with the development and rollout of this programming. She will work closely with higher education, industry, preK-12, community organizations, and governmental/elected officials to align STEM activities with regional economic and workforce development initiatives.