Portland, OR – May 7, 2021 – Oregon Connections, the online platform powered by Nepris that has been used for the pastfive years to bridge the gap between local education and industry, has extended their partnership with Nepris to continue to virtually connect Oregon students with employers and industry experts, both locally and across the globe, for another three years.
Just in time for Oregon’s STEM Week happening May 8-16, Oregon Connections has renewed an agreement with Nepris’ national platform to give educators across Oregon access to professionals from every industry. Used by regional STEM Hubs across the state, Oregon Connections has seen a tripling of teacher and district use over the last year, and more than four times the number of industry sessions offered. During STEM Week alone, Oregon Connections is host to 32 sessions hosted by Oregon industry professionals. This Oregon Connections platform is sponsored in part by Portland General Electric (PGE), Pacific Power, First Tech Federal Credit Union, and The Lemelson Foundation.
Live sessions with professionals on real-world applications of whatever content they are learning helped make virtual learning fun, engaging, and thought-provoking during the pandemic. This is a trend that may be here to stay.
“Inspiration and access to career pathways is no longer an accident of zip code,” said Melissa Dubois, Executive Director of the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership hosted by Oregon Tech in Wilsonville. “Oregon Connections has allowed us to broaden the horizons of kids from Multnomah to Malheur counties.”
The STEM Hubs are able to collaborate in the design of and participation in events that are 100% virtual, like Oregon Engineers Week and Oregon STEM Week, scaling the reach and impact of both the education system and Oregon employers. These events are geared toward Oregon students and presented by Oregon employers, but open to classrooms across the country.
“Kids can’t be what they can’t see. Oregon Connections has been pivotal in helping us bridge that inspiration gap for kids who just don’t know what’s out there after graduation,” said Dubois. “Oregon Connections became a critical connection to inspiration and relevance during distance learning. We are so excited to build on that in the coming years.”
Oregon Connections operates on the Nepris virtual learning platform, used by over 125,000 educators across the country, bringing real-world relevance and career exposure to students through live, virtual connections with industry experts. Many of these virtual sessions are about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), but there are also authors, artists, designers, actors, athletes, entertainers, and more available.
The professionals talk about their jobs and bring relevance and application to students’ everyday learning. The live sessions let students ask questions to gain insights from working professionals, take site tours of otherwise inaccessible workspaces, participate in mock interviews, and even present their own projects for feedback. Most importantly, these connections enable students to envision themselves in a variety of careers, regardless of their location or economic status.
“Our work with Oregon Connections began 5 years ago, and we’re thrilled with the growth of that partnership over that time,” explains Sabari Raja, Nepris co-founder and CEO. “This renewed agreement is a testament to not only the efficacy of this model, but also to Oregon’s foresight and dedication to always improving education. By introducing students to the many career paths available early and often, Oregon students of today have a stronger foundation on which to build their own future”.
Through this agreement, Oregon Connections educators will be able to leverage the full power of the platform for live connections – to request virtual industry guests and participate in Industry Chats – interactive talks with guest speakers which take place virtually throughout the day. They will also have unlimited access to the Video Library of 10,000+ archived videos of past sessions. These educational sessions include everything from high-level career introductions and resume reviews, to virtual tours of workplaces, and real-world science and tech activities for students.
Oregon STEM Hubs, school districts, employers, and organizations interested in learning more about Oregon Connections can reach out to Penny Jahraus (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional details and next steps.
About Oregon Connections
Oregon Connections is the next generation, web-based tool that makes it easy for industry professionals to connect with K-20 educators. Professionals can share their skills and expertise to bring real-world, authentic learning opportunities to all our students helping to create the next generation of innovators. Through virtual sessions, professionals can help students and teachers connect their classroom to the world of work. Together we can make a difference. Oregon Connections is a project of the STEM Oregon regional STEM hub network in collaboration with regional Career Technical Education partners, and has been a growing presence in Oregon since 2016.
Austin-based Nepris provides a cloud-based platform connecting industry professionals with K-16 classrooms so that students see the relevance of what they are learning in school. Students are exposed to diverse role models and career paths in STEM, the Arts, retail, manufacturing, and countless other careers. Nepris makes it easy for teachers to leverage industry connections while offering a scalable platform for companies and regional intermediaries to easily and effectively engage the current workforce with the future workforce, virtually. Nearly a half-million students have participated in a Nepris virtual session or have viewed one of the 10,000 hours of videos in its library. See Nepris in action at Nepris.com. @NeprisApp