An effort to build the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) workforce of the future is one step closer to reality.
Ohio business leaders and public officials joined Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland (GSOH) on May 9 for a groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of construction on the new STEM Leadership Center and Maker Space. This will be located at Camp Ken-Jockety, 1295 Hubbard Road in Galloway.
Powered by Girl Scouts, the “Dream Big” Initiative will help propel girls into STEM fields by allowing them to unleash their curiosity while cultivating next-generation innovators.
“Women have remained underrepresented in STEM fields, but Girl Scouts are creating a paradigm shift,“ said Tammy Wharton, president and chief executive officer of GSOH. “Through this project, Camp Ken-Jockety is transforming into a STEM and In-Demand Jobs immersive campus. It will become a place of unlimited possibilities, where girls can learn in-demand skills, participate in cutting-edge programs, and lay the foundation for a better economic future.”
Construction is expected to take place over the next year.
Launched in May 2022, the Dream Big project includes:
•A new STEM Leadership Center with community space, science and technology labs.
•A Maker Space to learn trade skills like welding, mechanics, and carpentry.
•A new greenhouse for gardening programs including hydroponics.
•Renovations to the Environmental Center to include the addition of a teaching kitchen for farm-to-table programming.
•Outdoor learning spaces.
The 220-acre campus will make a broad impact as a community resource for youth and community stakeholders across Ohio. It will be available to schools, other non-profits, and community partners.
Dream Big is the local commitment supporting the Girl Scouts of the USA’s bold goal of putting 2.5 million girls in the STEM pipeline by 2025. Today, women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce yet are drastically underrepresented in many fields including STEM, in-demand jobs, and leadership roles. For example, just 18 percent of STEM leadership roles are held by women. Women represent 15 percent of engineers and architects and only 12 percent of computer science degrees are earned by women.
GSOH has teamed with community partners to make the $16 million Dream Big project a reality. More than $12 million (80 percent of the goal) has been raised to date. GSOH has secured funding from local companies, including major gifts from Battelle, American Electric Power Foundation and Nationwide Foundation. The project also received state capital support.
“Gender equality in STEM education will help ignite economic growth in Franklin County and beyond, and the Dream Big initiative is an important step forward,” said Erica Crawley, Franklin County commissioner. “All children deserve to see themselves as scientists, mathematicians, and leaders. Girl Scouts empowers our girls to envision a better future and creates opportunities for them to dream even bigger.”
For more information on Dream Big, visit gsoh.org/dreambig.