Pella Chronicle

December 19, 2013

Ebeling, De Ruiter respond to public awareness campaign for STEM

By Clint Brown The Chronicle
The Pella Chronicle

---- — According to a press release to The Chronicle, with only 26 percent of Iowans understanding what STEM stands for – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – a public awareness campaign has been launched to inform more Iowans about the importance of STEM-related education.

“Pella Schools is please that the Governor is making a calculated effort to communicate the importance of “STEM” related education in Iowa,” Pella Community School Superintendent Greg Ebeling told The Chronicle. “At Pella Schools we recognize this need and have been working to improve programs that will deliver this critical education experience for students.”

Selected this summer, Strategic America, a West Des Moines-based integrated marketing and communications firm, was chosen to design the public awareness campaign that will focus on making sure students in Iowa are competitive with those in other states and countries when it comes to STEM education and interest. This interest and achievement will be needed in the next 10 years, as projected STEM-related job growth will increase by 16 percent due to the recovering economy and our growing reliance on technology.

“We look forward to rolling out our new brand to students, families, educators, corporate partners and others in the coming weeks because we believe all interested parties will connect with the idea that Greatness STEMs from Iowans,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is co-chairing the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “The new logo leverages the STEM acronym and prominently ties it with our state’s roots, which is important because STEM is a vital economic development advantage for Iowa.”

The campaign, announced during the weekly news conference of Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds, includes a new brand and logo, core messages, a Public Service Announcement (PSA), billboard advertisements, statewide events and public relations.

“Pella is a unique community and we have such great relationships with our local companies,” Pella Christian Principal Darryl De Ruiter told The Chronicle. “These companies want to work with us to develop opportunities for our current students and their future workforce so it truly is a win-win situation.”

Tool kits that contain talking points, fliers, customizable presentations and other resources will be shared with key STEM contacts across the state and posted to the Advisory Council website in the coming weeks. Television and billboard advertising will rollout in early 2014, and Iowa native Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, has recently agreed to be a part of the TV PSA.

“The more people we can help understand what STEM education is about, the better support we hope to receive from across the state,” Ebeling said.

The $150,000 campaign cost come out of the $5.2 million appropriated from the Iowa Legislature to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council this fiscal year. Strategic America, is donating a majority of the services for the campaign by matching the agency’s time spent on the project dollar for dollar, plus an additional $10,000 in services, for a total of $160,000 in donated time.