STEM Festival is opportunity for local industries

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On Saturday, April 22, the town of Williston will be host to the DIG STEM Festival.

STEM is an acroynm for “Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics”. DIG is the Dreams Imagination & Gift Development Program developed by former Williston resident Steven Brown.

According to Brown, DIG works “to inspire youth in rural areas to excel in all endeavors by empowering them to unlock their full potential and build upon their natural gifts and talents.”

Last year DIG initiated the STEM Festival and all involved said they were pleased to see over 2,500 people attending.

That’s a lot of people for a small community.

According to a flyer promoting this year’s event, “The DIG STEM Festival is a free, outdoor event which provides and opportunity for engagement and exchange between children, teens, families and STEM professionals in rural communities.”

“It will showcase a multitude of exhibitors that will provide hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations and family-oriented STEM entertainment.”

The goal of the event is to “increase awareness of the role of STEM in society while conveying the importance of STEM knowledge and skills in everyday life.”

The need for STEM education is vital.

According to DIG, “as one of the fastest-growing career fields in the nation, by 2018 STEM careers will increase by 17 percent.”

“Currently, STEM job openings outpace the amount of qualified applicants available to fill them. STEM careers make up 75 percent of the growing job markets. 2.4 million jobs will go unfilled because of the lack of qualified applicants. With the growing demand of STEM careers, the U.S. will require more workers with a high level knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math than ever before. To meet this demand there is a huge emphasis on the exposure of STEM to our youth in and outside of the classroom.”

The festival is a way to introduce the wonders for STEM careers to Barnwell County youth.

DIG and local organizers were thrilled last year with the participation but they had one regret - most of the exhibitors were from outside the county.

This year we challenge local industries and businesses to take a Saturday to showcase their technologies. Exhibitors don’t have to represent a multi-million dollar industry - a small business can showcase their technologies and business methods as well. Think about the science, technology, engineering and mathematics it takes to make a business of any size function.

As one economic development official stated, the STEM Festival is an opportunity to connect students with the possibility of finding careers right here at home.

Events like this can spark the imagination of youngsters and that fire can drive them to get the education they need to attain their dreams.

While we have many fine businesses and industries in Barnwell County, not everyone knows exactly what many of them do. The STEM Festival is an opportunity to educate the Barnwell County community on what our industries do and what careers are offered.

Most of all, the STEM Festival is a fun event where young and old can interact with local businesses and industries.

We encourage everyone to participate in this festival - it’s free, it’s fun, and it should provide a joy of learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 22.

There are several ways to become a sponsor or exhibitor: contact DIG at www. digdp/event/digstem or contact DIG Founder-President Steven D.K. Brown at www.digdp.org , or email info@digdp.org, or call (864) 897-9845.

Information is also available at Williston Town Hall and the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission in Barnwell.