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Cultivating Employability Skills In Kindergarten

Aligning Elementary, Middle, and High Schools to Career Pathways

The Northwest Arkansas STEM Ecosystem is increasing awareness and creating a well-prepared pipeline of employees through collective and intentional efforts at Pea Ridge School District. Pea Ridge Exploration of Pathways (PREP) is a hands-on STEM initiative for Grades K-8 that introduces and cultivates employability skills and leads into the 10 college and career pathways at the high school. A Pea Ridge student’s journey through PREP enables him or her to explore and experience Pitsco curricula matched to Next Generation Science Standards and College and Career Readiness Standards. K-8 students experience hands-on personalized learning strategies while being exposed to more than 230 different careers, many of which can be found at northwest Arkansas businesses including Walmart, Tyson, and J.B. Hunt.

“You can run the world from your porch in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, if you understand computer coding – the language of the computer – and have access to high-speed broadband Internet, and you’ve got that here. So just learn the coding, and you could work for a company in Houston, Texas, in New York, in California, right here in Pea Ridge.”

– Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas governor

“It needs to be ingrained in them all the way up and down – the speaking skills, the soft skills – and it takes more than two years to develop these skills. The STEM model forces kids into having those conversations, making connections, and collaborating.”

– Rick Neal, superintendent, Pea Ridge Public Schools, Pea Ridge, Arkansas