Iowa STEM: Careers Start Here

STEM education—courses and programs in science, technology, engineering and math—is one key to enhancing economic development in Iowa, and to keeping Iowa students competitive with their counterparts around the world. The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council was created in 2011 to increase student interest in—and public awareness of—STEM education, and in 2013 the STEM Council chose Strategic America to implement an awareness campaign, from which “Greatness STEMs from Iowans” was born. Three years later, SA focuses on media relations, events, social media, video and project work to help the STEM Council to push STEM awareness forward for Iowans.

Case Study

With only 26 percent of Iowans understanding what STEM stands for–science, technology, engineering and mathematics–SA launched a public awareness campaign in December 2013 to inform more Iowans about the importance of STEM-related education and how STEM drives Iowa’s economy.
Strategic America was hired by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council to create a campaign that focuses on making sure students in Iowa are competitive with those in other states and countries when it comes to STEM education and interest. This would be needed in the next 10 years, as STEM-related job growth is projected to increase by 16 percent.

The campaign was launched at a news conference by Governor Branstad and included the new “Greatness STEMs from Iowans” brand and logo, core messages, a public service announcement (PSA), billboard advertisements, statewide events and public relations. The 2013 PSA featured Iowa native Ben Silbermann, Pinterest co-founder and CEO. A second PSA was created in 2015 that featured four Iowa students envisioning how their careers in STEM will impact the future of Iowa and its sustainability for tomorrow. This PSA was awarded a 2016 Telly Award.

Three years later, awareness of STEM in Iowa is at an all-time high, as more than 51 percent of Iowans recognize the acronym. In addition, SA’s PR efforts resulted in a 118 percent increase in local and statewide media coverage, with STEM appearing before 150 million sets of eyes.

STEM’s multiple partnerships with state government, universities and colleges, K-12 teachers, corporate partners and economic drivers are invigorated by SA’s listening, collaboration and excitement for improving the future of Iowa.