By: Ken Delaney, WKZO AM/FM | Read it >
In an effort to shift the thinking on how to tackle career education, especially for younger learners, Kalamazoo RESA’s Career Connect program, in partnership with Pfizer and Stryker, has unveiled what they are calling a groundbreaking mobile Discovery Lab.
Officials say the initiative is a part of the agency’s redesign of career and technical education in Kalamazoo County.
KRESA’s Discovery Lab is a mobile, vehicle-based facility that is equipped to provide accessible, hands-on career awareness and exploration experiences, especially for younger learners. The Lab features advanced industry equipment, multimedia tools and interactive exhibits to create a rich learning environment. It is designed to be flexible and can travel to schools, communities and events to bring specialized educational resources directly to learners.
KRESA says the goal of the Discovery Lab is to promote awareness and exploration of technical career fields, allow for hands-on experimentation and provide access to tools or equipment that might not be readily available in standard classroom settings.
Discovery Lab highlights include:
- Versatility: Designed to showcase diverse industries and career pathways, starting with a focus on Advanced
- Inclusive Curriculum: “Manufacturing and Me” curriculum, aimed at 4th-7th graders, has been meticulously crafted in association with Learning Undefeated, a non-profit partner that brings STEM resources and experiences to under-resourced communities.
- Engaging Interactivity: Modules allow learners to transition items from concept to completion, demonstrating the entire manufacturing cycle.
- Hands-on Industry Interactions: Learning is facilitated by volunteers from industry, offering unique insights into local manufacturing processes.
The Discovery Lab will be traveling to various schools in Kalamazoo County, starting in the current 2023-2024 school year, and will also be establishing its footprints in neighborhoods in the City of Kalamazoo, including Northside, Eastside and Edison.
KRESA was the recipient of a Pfizer “Moonshot” grant in support of this initiative. Pfizer’s Moonshot grants are aimed at supporting local community-based organizations that are helping to connect students from diverse and underrepresented communities to STEM education and careers.
The grant program was funded with the proceeds of the book ‘Moonshot: Inside Pfizer’s Nine-Month Race to Make the Impossible Possible’ that chronicles Pfizer’s experience developing its COVID-19 vaccine.