Robins Air Force Base and Houston County Schools are focusing on STEM all in an effort to build a pipeline of skilled-STEM employees for places like Robins Air Force Base and in other career fields.

At Wednesday’s State of the Base address, Base leaders said they are looking for STEM-trained workers.

They say the first step is solid science, technology, engineering and math education in schools across Central Georgia and the state.

The Museum of Aviation sees about 56,000 students and teachers per year in STEM programs, according to the Museum’s press office.

Third, fourth and fifth graders at Northside Elementary School are getting ready for the Science Olympiad.

Fourth grader Madison Brown enjoys the STEM program.

Bottle rocket project preparing for Science Olympiad
Bottle rocket project preparing for Science Olympiad

“You get to do a whole bunch of different things, you get to do science, math, technology, and engineering,” Brown says.

For the team, she's building towers to test their strength and stability. The twist? They’re built using straws.

She’s also trying to remember every bone in the human body, which she's getting pretty good at.

“So, this is the mandible, this is the maxilla, these are the zygomatic bones, this is the frontal bone, these are the parietal bones, these are the temporal bones, occipital bones,” Brown said while pointing to bones in her own face and head.

In Jill Nelms 2nd grade class, they do five to six STEM projects a year that relate to the coursework.

Nelms said those seven and eight-year-olds in her class are getting interested.

“My kids love it. And they love it when we're about to start a STEM project and they're wanting to know how it's going to incorporate with our science and literacy aspects. They get really excited when we start and a lot of my girls are a lot more interested in it than other schools I've been at,” Nelms told 13 WMAZ.

The school was the first to be STEM-certified in the County and uses STEM-based teaching at every grade level, even pre-K.

From smart boards in the classroom, to a student-created garden where students plant herbs, sunflowers, and sometimes worms, everyone is focused on STEM.

Even the pre-K students work with “code-a-pillars" to teach them basic coding skills.

Northside Elementary has won the County’s Science Olympiad tournament for four years in a row. This Saturday they’ll compete in regionals. The last two years, they’ve done well enough at regionals to compete at the state level.

Jaime Cook with Robins Air Force Base wants to make sure it continues, which is why the Base is bringing a new STEM-based pilot program from Ohio right here to Houston County.

STEM garden at Northside Elementary
STEM garden at Northside Elementary

“STEM camps for grades six through twelve, ten through twelfth graders starting at age 16, will actually have paid internships on the Base. Working with various STEM mentors, doing various STEM activities across the Base,” Cook says about the Legacy Program.

The Legacy Program starts this summer. It has 20 spots for camp and 10 spots for paid internships.

You can apply for the program here through the end of March.

The Legacy Program is meant to create a STEM-based workforce for the Department of Defense, bases like Robins, and for other career fields in the United States.

At Tuesday’s State of the Base, RAFB Director of Engineering Tom Fischer said they'll be hiring for STEM-related jobs for years to come at Robins and urged the schools and colleges to keep it up.