Wayne State University's Old Main Building. Daily Detroit File Photo.
Wayne State University's Old Main Building. Daily Detroit File Photo.

Everyone it seems is talking about the need for more people trained in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the current job market. Especially for students that are at-risk and face challenges, access to that education can be difficult.

To help people get these in-demand skills at an early age, Wayne State University’s C2 Pipeline Program has become the 21st American CCLC program to receive STEM Accreditation through STEM.org.

What is the C2 Pipeline Program? It partners with 15 high schools in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties that serve at-risk students. The program complements the students’ school curriculum with after-school and summer activities. The summer programming culminates in an 11-day residential program that is the first of its kind.

“This achievement exhibits a true excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. The C2 Pipeline Program’s collective dedication to learning the principles and pedagogy involved with this process clearly demonstrates that the WSU C2 Pipeline program is a cut above the rest,” said Andrew Raupp, founder and executive director of STEM.org

Principal Investigator and Project Director Don Neal believes these programs promote college career readiness through STEM-based project learning activities. These activities focus on health, engineering, social work, health science, business, and pharmaceutical careers. The C2 Pipeline Program also exists to enhance students’ secondary school experience.

“We are seeing an increase in students wanting to graduate high school on time and wanting to further their education,” Neal said. “One of our other partners, the Michigan AHEC, will actually track those students once they get here (to WSU) or another institution to see if they completed college, if they are going into a health career, and where they’re working. Our tracking model is truly longitudinal. We see our students graduating high school on time.”

In February, 15 C2 Pipeline Site Coordinators and teachers from each C2 Pipeline school participated in STEM certification training hosted by STEM.org’s Education Director Heather Miller.

“Having teachers and Pipeline staff together, created a tremendous linkage between the day school and afterschool setting,” said Neal. “It speaks volumes to the strength of relationships that we are building in that school principals released teachers from class to attend.”

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