OSD receives $91,000 grant for STEM pathways
Oxford, Mississippi (March 3, 2023) — The Oxford School District has received a $91,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) and the governor’s office in order to promote and expose students to STEM pathways as viable career options. The grant, administered by MDES as a part of the Workforce and Innovation Act, is meant to support K-12 programs that align with the state’s workforce development plan.
Dr. Duncan Gray, the school district’s Director of Community and Workforce Development and principal author of the grant, said the funds will initially focus on providing select students with opportunities to attend STEM camps and to be a part of paid internships in STEM-based careers.
“Exposure is so important when making a decision on career paths after school, and it’s also important as students select which courses they want to take in school. Students often have a hard time imagining themselves in a certain field or a certain class because they don’t even know it exists. By funding opportunities for students to attend summer STEM camps or participate in internships as seniors, the hope is students begin to really consider the STEM field as a viable career path.”
Superintendent Bradley Roberson said the grant is another example of the district’s ongoing commitment to preparing all students to be prepared for the workforce, and that includes focusing on exposure.
“We know our students really desire to understand all of their potential next steps after high school. It’s our job to provide them with opportunities to learn about those next steps and to prepare them to enter the workforce, regardless of whether it’s directly to work after high school, after a 2-year program, or after a 4-year program.”
While the district will use the initial funds for the camps and internships, Gray said he hopes to also be able to scale out some current STEM-based programs within the district or potentially launch some new initiatives in order to promote STEM-related careers.
“If we can expose students to these fields through camps, internships, school-based programming, whatever it is, then we really have taken a significant step in strengthening our community and building out the next generation of our workforce,” Gray said.