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Press Release

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

FLVS Press Contact
(540) 349-2311

Thousands of Students Benefit from Florida’s First Virtual Career Fair on STEM

~ Science, technology, engineering and math professionals teach students about the exciting possibilities of STEM careers ~

TALLAHASSEE – Thousands of students in middle and high schools across Florida yesterday learned first-hand what it takes to tackle an exciting career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) during the Department of Education’s first-ever STEM Virtual Career Fair. The online fair was hosted in partnership with the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) and Elluminate Technology, and transformed ordinary brick-and-mortar classrooms into a virtual atmosphere that provided engaging dialogue to inspire students and answer their questions about pursuing careers in these exciting fields of study.

“Scores of Florida students were treated to the inherent diversity and enriching non-traditional job opportunities found within the professional fields of STEM,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Thanks to our partners, FLVS and Elluminate, STEM experts from across the country were able to communicate directly with our students about their exciting careers and encourage a new generation of Floridians to pursue a future in these critical fields of study.”

“Increasing the number of students who elect careers in science and math is critical to our state's long-term economic competitiveness,” explained FLVS President and Chief Executive Officer Julie Young. “We are honored to support the Department’s efforts in highlighting the vast opportunities and diverse career paths available to students in these fields.”

Professionals from Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Scripps Florida, Entertainment Arts (EA), Florida Council on Economic Education, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FLVS and award-winning composer Zain Effendi offered an insider’s perspective on their lives and careers while answering student questions about what it takes to be successful in their jobs.

“In today’s knowledge-based, global marketplace, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are the foundations for the high-wage, high-demand jobs that are key to a vibrant Florida economy,” said Cynthia R. Lorenzo, Director of the Agency for Workforce Innovation. “The career fair helped illustrate for thousands of Florida students the importance of these essential skills to succeeding in careers such as bioscience, engineering, business, renewable energy, green technology, law enforcement and the fine arts – and the boundless opportunities for their future.”

FLVS and Elluminate Technology donated the virtual space for the event and provided technical support for schools interested in participating. Florida’s first STEM Virtual Career Fair was recorded and now available for download. For more information and to view the day’s presentations, visit https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2010-04-27.0914.M.4EECC3EF233B3158624EB2B446E253.vcr.

“I applaud the Department of Education’s efforts to get students excited about STEM learning and careers,” said Dr. Jimmie L. Davis, Jr., Chairman of STEMflorida, the collaborative state partnership charged to unify and bolster STEM talent development efforts among business, education, workforce and economic development. “It’s also important to outline for students clear next steps to understanding the link between STEM learning and the types of in-demand, innovation economy jobs the future holds for them. One online resource I often recommend is www.thefutureschannel.com, which connects the STEM professionals of today and tomorrow through new media.”

About FLVS
FLVS is an established leader in developing and providing virtual K-12 education solutions to students all over Florida, the U.S. and the world. A nationally recognized e-Learning model and recipient of numerous awards, FLVS was founded in 1997 and was the country’s first, state-wide Internet-based public high school. Today, FLVS serves students in grades K-12 and provides a variety of custom solutions for schools and districts to meet student needs.
About Elluminate
Elluminate, Inc. delivers best-in-class web, audio, video, and social networking solutions optimized for 21st century teaching, learning, and collaboration. The company helps unify enterprise technologies to ensure that learning and collaboration happen in a better, faster, and more efficient way. Since its founding in 2000, the company has grown to provide more than one billion Web-collaboration minutes annually, serving more than seven million teachers and students located in more than 170 different countries.
About STEMflorida
STEMflorida is a business-led, collaborative partnership charged to connect education, workforce, business and economic development leaders to identify opportunities to build and measure the state’s supply of workers with skills and knowledge in STEM fields to support innovation in existing and emerging industries. Its mission is to ensure that Florida becomes a leader in market relevant STEM talent development and retention.
About the Agency for Workforce Innovation
The Agency for Workforce Innovation is Florida's lead workforce agency and directly administers the state's various workforce and unemployment programs and the Office of Early Learning. Workforce development policy and guidance are provided by Workforce Florida, Inc. Partnering together, along with the state’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards that deliver services through more than 90 One-Stop Career Centers around the state, they compose the Employ Florida network.