Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO of Ariens Company, recently received the Visionary Award for leadership in the area of STEM education from the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. Every year, the organization honors individuals, businesses and schools in Northeast Wisconsin that perform best practices in manufacturing and education collaborations throughout northeast Wisconsin.
"Dan's partnership with the Brillion School District has resulted in a nationally-recognized model of STEM education focused on project-based learning," according to the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. "Students learn to think, solve problems, work in team and develop their intellectual curiosity. Dan thinks 'big picture' and has promoted a culture of corporate responsibility focused on steering students toward careers that will help them pursue viable careers."
Ariens has partnered with local educators, administrators and school board members since 2007 to realize a STEM education program that was initiated at the high school level and has now migrated down to the elementary level. With the recent addition of a STEM learning center – the Exploration Station – at the Brillion elementary school, children as young as 5-years-old attend STEM classes.
"These students bring unencumbered creativity to problem-solving. Brillion teachers have found that elementary students are the perfect age to begin teaching STEM principles," says Ariens. "When these students reach graduation and enter the workforce, they will literally revolutionize manufacturing with the skills they will bring to the industry."
The NEW Manufacturing Alliance is a collaboration between business, education, government and non-profit organizations that work collectively to attract, develop and retain the highly-skilled workforce critical to the manufacturing sector in Northeast Wisconsin. It is a collaboration between business, education, government and non-profit agencies with more than 220 participating organizations.