The National Science Foundation reports that there are currently between 2 and 3 million unfilled positions in the STEM areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The shortfall in STEM employees is likely to increase. The Department of Commerce shows that in the past 10 years, STEM jobs grew at three times the rate of non-STEM jobs, a trend likely to continue and accelerate.

Innovation is tightly coupled with science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM subjects. Art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st Century like science and technology did in the last century. STEAM can be defined as science and technology, interpreted through engineering and the arts, all based in mathematical elements. According to the NSF, STEAM is not just about adding the arts to STEM, rather, "It's more about fundamentally changing education to incorporate the experimentation and exploration that is at the heart of effective education.”


The 2016-17 Technology Edition of THRIVE magazine has been released by the Daily Journal, in partnership with the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. "The intent of this publication," explains Alliance Director of Marketing & Business Attraction Lisa Wogan, "is to showcase tech advances large and small across our community - from our vibrant manufacturing, biotech, agriculture and health care industries to the growing and rich STEM education programming in our area schools."

Access the e-edition Here:
2016-2017 Technology Edition of Thrive Magazine

STEM/STEAM Curriculums:

Kankakee School District #111 - Defined STEM

With the tightening of the talent market, the rapid shift to a fully digital economy and the push for the United States to remain competitive globally, connecting education to the world of work as critical now as it has ever been. Kankakee School District #111 has brought a proven and innovative approach to K-12 learning to Kankakee County in its Academy Model. The basis of the model is to build student engagement and success by aligning instruction to specific industry sectors of the student's choosing and aligned with his or her aptitude, with a focus on high-growth STEM careers and experiential learning, including increased internships, job shadows, etc. With a $30 million grant, Kankakee School District #111 is undergoing a comprehensive revamp of not only its curriculum but also its school facilities to reflect a new focus on the professional standards and space configurations of corporate America.

Offered at Kankakee School District #111, Defined STEM is a service that offers an enormous collection of pre-created problems and project-based learning resources for all core subjects in K-12. Work Kankakee has a pilot program at Kankakee School District 111 and financially supports its STEM program, its mentoring for college and career readiness efforts (City Life’s program) and has provided industry and other organizational contacts for internships and other forms of mentoring. Each resource is built around a specific career to help increase relevancy, and comes with all the resources, standards and materials needed to augment existing curriculums.

Other Cirricula

Project Lead the Way - (PLTW) is the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs.  Our world-class curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate and community partners, help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in our global economy.  *taken directly from their site

Destination Imagination - The Destination Imagination early learning program provides teachers with a framework which enables them to relate more effectively with students while preparing them for elementary grades.  The Pathways set includes Social and Emotional Learning, STEM and Literacy concepts, and plenty of fun and engaging activities for school and at home.  *taken directly from their site

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy - Professional Field Services at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy serves educators, schools and districts through innovative educational programs and products and provides high quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs for Illinois students.  One of their multiple campuses is in Aurora and is highly focused on STEM and giving students the skills they need to fulfill STEM jobs.  *taken directly from their site

Khan Academy - Khan Academy provides learning free for everyone.  Its content focuses on STEM related learning to give access to anyone seeking to learn.

Code - Code focuses on teaching the next generation specific computer skills that are in high demand in the job field.  Their goal is to give an hour of code for every student so they can be equipped for the future.

GirlSTEAM - Presented by Kankakee Community College, GirlSTEAM is a summer program for girls entering grades 6-8 to introduce careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. (STEAM)

FIRST Tech Challenge

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Kankakee School District KAY TECH junior high and high school robotics teams and Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School Ironclad robotics teams compete at U.S. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)Tech Challenge and undertake STEAM-related community engagement projects.

Broadcom MASTERS

Targeted at middle school students in grades 6th-8th, the Broadcom MASTERS is a national science, technology, engineering, and math competition that encourages the nation’s young scientists, engineers and innovators. View video or visit the website to learn more about the competition. eCYBERMISSION,sponsored by NSTA and the U.S. Army. Designed to increase students’ experience in STEM-related fields this free competition encourages 6th-9th grade students to use the scientific method/inquiry or engineering design process to solve real-world challenges. Students can win on a state, regional, and national level, with national winning teams receiving up to $8,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity. The teacher who registers the most students by December 14th will win a $600 gift certificate for Vernier Probeware in their classroom. To register e-mail at

ExploraVision is a science competition that encourages students to study a technology of interest and predict what it might look like 20 years from now. Students are encouraged to work in groups of 2-4 students and must be sponsored by a teacher.

Google Science Fair
This online science competition is open to students between the ages of 13 and 18 from anywhere in the world, working alone or in teams. Google is looking for extraordinary ideas, and they are eager to see what youth come up with. This is a great opportunity for teenagers to explore ideas they’re passionate about, learn about science, and maybe produce a world-changing idea.

Intel Science Talent Search
The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Since 1942, the Science Talent Search has provided a national stage for the country’s best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists. The 2013 application is now available online. To learn more about the competition visit the Intel Science Talent website.

NASA’s Missions: Imagine and Build
NASA and the LEGO Group are partnering to inspire the next generation of aerospace engineers through this design competition. Students of all ages will use the LEGO toy bricks in building models of future airplanes and spacecraft. To read the complete rules and guidelines for submitting the LEGO model and technical paper, visit:

Siemens Competition
The Siemens Competition fosters intensive research that improves students’ understanding of the value of scientific study and informs their consideration of future careers in these disciplines. Students can compete as an individual or as a member of a team. Individual projects promote independent research. Team projects foster collaborative research efforts, as well as individual contributions to the cooperative endeavor.Scholarships for winning projects range from $1,000 to $100,000. Guidelines for 2013 Competition will be available in May 2013.

STEM Video Game Challenge
This national competition motivates interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games. The 2013 competition will open soon, click here to sign up for notifications or visit the website to learn more.

US First - is a site designed to promote engineering through competitions. It has competitions ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade.