West Sound STEM Network gets grant for marine renewable career program

The grant was among those given by Career Connect Washington

PORT ORCHARD — A grant of $156,200 has been made to West Sound STEM Network (WSSN) for its Renewable Energy Career Pathways proposal that focuses on career exploration and preparation, in partnership with the Mid-Columbia STEM Network and in collaboration with Tribal leaders and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The grant was among those given by Career Connect Washington, which aims to create and expand Career Launch, Career Prep, and Career Explore programs “to help catalyze the development or expansion of high-quality career-connected learning programs across Washington state that will prepare students to succeed in our state’s booming economy,” the organization stated in a Nov. 5 news release.

The partnership, which includes school districts, higher education, regional educational service districts, and county and Tribal workforce development agencies, is working with industry partners to develop a first-of-its-kind marine renewable energy career pathways ecosystem.

The program will develop industry-led renewable energy career pathways at elementary, middle and high schools. Students will have the ability to use these pathways to enter related clean energy sectors like wind energy and hydropower, officials said in the release.

“Our youth are curious, innovative and environmentally aware,” said Dr. Kareen Borders, WSSN’s executive director. “Our team is committed to disrupting inequity, including access to career pathways.”

Robert Andrade, Jr., market director and general manager of Johnson Controls, said, “Decarbonization and renewable energy goals are high priorities, and we are excited to co-lead this very important work in developing an ecosystem in two regions that can be scaled statewide.”