Science. Technology. Engineering. Math.

These four disciplines, known as STEM, are a fundamental part of our business at Southwest Power Pool.

For over 75 years, our STEM-educated employees have been vital to our success. About 17.5 million people in our region count on our engineers, programmers, developers and analysts to ensure the reliable delivery of electrical power to their homes and businesses every day without fail.

We at Southwest Power Pool are dedicated to helping our community grow and flourish. We believe in helping young Arkansans learn the skills they'll need to forge successful, STEM-related careers. To do so, our communities need to actively encourage children to pursue STEM education from a young age.

“We must increase the college-student pipeline in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by focusing our attention on attitudes toward these subjects earlier in a student’s education,” Nick Brown wrote in an essay for Engage, a publication of the Arkansas Community Foundation.

In 2016 and 2017, we hosted hundreds of high school students from across Arkansas to demonstrate the value of STEM in our work. Representatives from SPP's engineering, IT and operations departments explained to students enrolled in a statewide Essentials of Computer Programming course how algorithms and other programming tools help us monitor the grid, collect and analyze data from 95 member companies and ensure the reliable supply of electricity to the nearly 18 million people in our footprint.

SPP's investment in STEM education provides opportunities for students to explore STEM. Given the technical nature of our work, we acknowledge the importance of helping local students learn and appreciate engineering and IT principles, and we want to help them find related jobs in their home state.

Additionally, through the Million Women Mentors program, employees donated their time to encouraging young girls in Little Rock public schools to pursue STEM-related education programs and careers. This mentorship was beneficial to both the mentors and mentees by providing students examples of successful females in STEM careers and opening their eyes to education and careers they may not have thought possible.

In an effort to invest further in STEM, SPP employees added the Museum of Discovery as a new recipient to employee-supported charities in 2016. SPP has been a longtime corporate supporter of the museum and its passion for science, technology and math. Employees donated money and volunteered their time at the museum’s Discovering Excellence in Arkansas and Tinkerfest events.

A STEM education can lead to a highly rewarding and well-paid future. On average, Arkansans in STEM fields earn nearly double the median hourly wage of non-STEM employees. As technology continues to advance, the demand for STEM graduates will only grow.

We encourage parents, educators and Arkansas businesses to join us in creating opportunities for children to learn and practice STEM-related skills.

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