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Supporting Success Beyond the Classroom

December 11, 2017

Supporting Success Beyond the Classroom

December 11, 2017

By Steve Albrecht, Director,-DPW/CE, APWA-MN Executive Committee

If you attended the APWA-MN Fall Conference you know our fundraising efforts were focused on a charity called Success Beyond the Classroom (SBC) Most members probably don’t realize we have been working with SBC for years. Their programs include the Future City Competition (FCC) and STEMlink. Thanks to our APWA-MN members and vendors we raised $1,700 at this year’s Fall Conference for SBC. 

SBC annually brings innovative, creative and challenging academic competitions and programs to the Twin Cities area. They provide students the opportunity to develop their skills and fulfill their passions outside of school.

The FCC program allows them to work with mentors and engineers to create a virtual city design, develop proposed solutions to engineering challenges, construct tabletop city models and present their ideas. In 2017, 47 teams of students competed at the FCC regional finals with the assistance of more than 100 engineers from local agencies, companies and consulting firms. Read more about the impact of the 2017 FCC program at

STEMlink brings real-life STEM careers to 5th and 6th graders in interactive programs with professionals from multiple disciplines including; biology, physics, chemistry, health sciences, engineering, CAD, horticulture, fabrication, cybersecurity and computer science. In 2017, this program had a significant impact on participants. Here are some program feedback highlights from 1,500 5th/6th grade students and their teachers from this past year:

  • 88% of students rated their experience a 4 or 5 out of 5
  • 91% of students want to come back to STEMlink
  • 90% of students are more excited about STEM because of STEMlink
  • 91% said they were provided with real-world examples of STEM work and workers
  • 85% now understand how studying science and math can lead to exciting STEM careers
  • 72% of students will work harder in their math and science classes because of STEMlink (3 students said they "already work hard")
  • 91% teachers felt STEMlink enhanced their ability to teach students about STEM concepts and careers

As an organization, our mission is to advance the theory and practice of the design, construction, maintenance, administration, and operation of facilities and services. It is critical to that mission that we develop future generations of public works and engineering professionals. Our investment of time and resources in organizations like SBC helps further that mission. Annually, our Public Awareness Committee works with SBC to provide member volunteers to assist with these events. SBC’s Creativity Festival for 3rd – 5th graders occurs each year in January. The event is organized to mimic a college-type setting. This year, APWA members will lead one of the breakout sessions to teach children about permeability. If you are interested in volunteering your time in 2018 to help with any of these programs and the associated events, please contact Chuck Schwartz at

Thank you for your generous support at our Fall Conference fundraiser, and continued support of our Public Awareness Committee events throughout the year. Please have a safe and happy holiday season.

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