2017 Community Impact Awards, Workforce Development: Washington Stem

Plus: Silver Award winner The Coffee Oasis.

October 25, 2017

Teresa Kenney

Washington STEM CEO Caroline King

Plus: Silver Award winner The Coffee Oasis.

OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL: Washington STEM CEO Caroline King focuses on equal access to technical education.

Location: Seattle | Employees: 13
Top Exec: Caroline King, CEO

Washington stem strives to increase student interest in, access to and success with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) across the state. Its Career Connected Learning initiative works with 21 learning labs in schools, companies and nonprofit organizations.

“We take a systems-wide approach,” says Jesse Gilliam, Washington STEM communications director. “We work to connect businesses, schools and community organizations to make sure they’re working to advance STEM education.”

The organization recently worked with Amazon on a summer STEM camp, connecting the company to the Kent School District and a local Boys and Girls Club. Hands-on learning activities included building a robot and designing Amazon’s “next big invention.”

“It helped kids see the possibility of what was happening at Amazon and have a chance to see some careers that they might want to be a part of,” Gilliam explains. The organization also provides grant funding that targets increasing equity in mathematics and has helped to develop math-focused early-learning plans in South King County.

In addition, it has been working with state government on the Career Connect Washington Task Force and will  manage the distribution of a $1 million grant from JPMorgan Chase and a $1 million federal grant to expand and scale successful STEM programs throughout Washington.

Location: Bremerton | Employees: 63
Top Exec: David Frederick, executive director

For 20 years, The Coffee Oasis has been serving street and homeless youth in Kitsap County through outreach, case management, mentoring, shelter and job training.

The organization has six Coffee Oasis businesses, three drop-in centers and a homeless youth shelter, as well as an in-house barista and culinary job training program. It partners with more than 70 businesses to provide job-training internships. In 2015 and 2016, 100 percent of the young people participating in internships got jobs.

See the full list of 2017 Community Impact Awards winners here.