STEM Venture Academies are partnerships between The Arkansas STEM Coalition, local schools, school districts, and various industry partners in Arkansas. Each Venture Academy targets  a cohort of approximately 25 9th and 10th grade youth to introduce them to mid-skill STEM careers through engagement with companies providing important infrastructure services to their communities.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas helps to teach students the importance of electricity in our daily lives.

Students pose in front of a Union Pacific train.

Central Arkansas Water exhibits a water test for students to view.

The STEM Venture Academy program aims to help solve the problem of Arkansas’s growing STEM workforce shortages and gaps in students’ STEM education, knowledge, and career readiness.

  • Each Venture Academy cohort consists of up to 25 9th and 10th grade students
  • Students are chosen by counselors, career coaches, teachers, and/or school administrators
  • Students visit five local businesses to learn about STEM jobs and workforce needs
  • A Venture Academy graduation ceremony is held for participating students, families, school personnel, and business representatives

Students are connected with five different businesses that engage them in tours and hands-on activities while on-site visiting the companies. Engagement in the program allows students to gain an understanding of the practical context of STEM knowledge, soft skills, and work ready skills as well as acquire a deeper understanding of career pathways and available resources (schooling, certificates/licenses/degrees, training). Additionally, students gain awareness of regular work tasks and employers’ increased expectations of personal lifestyle management skills. Students develop a better understanding of the job market potential of particular industries and potential for job opportunities (internships, entry level positions, etc.).