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By Terri M. Bernhardt

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs declared Dec. 1-7 as “STEM Week” in Orange County with a signed proclamation during the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). Jacobs presented the signed proclamation to Team Orlando, Orange County Public Schools and the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA), the organizers of I/ITSEC.

Orange-Mayor-Jacobs-Present-Team-Orlando-STEM-Proc

Presenting the 2013 STEM Week Proclamation are (L-R) Bill Sublette, Orange County School Board Chairman; Barbara Jenkins, Superintendent; Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orange County; Col. Franz Plescha, AFAMS; Daryl Flynn, Orange County School Board ; Adm. James Robb, President, NTSA.

Accepting the proclamation on behalf of Team Orlando was Colonel Franz Plescha, Commander, Air Force Agency for Modeling & Simulation. “Simulation is the wave of the future,” Plescha stated. “In order to get where we need to be, we need partnerships from the military, industry and academia, all working together. When we refer to academia, it all starts with the children and we are thankful for these partners who join with Team Orlando all year to make this happen.”

The annual proclamation is representative of the strong presence of the modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry cluster that has been growing in the Orange County community for more than six decades. From an educational standpoint, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) annually supports this STEM event on many levels, as Central Florida is widely recognized as the nation’s center of excellence for simulation.

“All Orange County students deserve access to a world-class STEM education that prepares them for academic, career and personal success,” stated Orange County Superintendent Barbara Jenkins. “Ongoing efforts such as STEM week serve as a catalyst to help us advance a high quality STEM education to all Orange County students. Exposing the future workforce to these fields is crucial to the region’s innovation and new job creation in the modeling and simulation industry.”

Team Orlando plans to continue to support STEM education and science-related jobs by helping to bring key people and best practices together. Orange County Public Schools is committed to its mission of becoming the nation’s top producer of successful students, and access to STEM is a crucial part of that mission. Ongoing efforts such as STEM week serve as a catalyst to advance high quality STEM education and prepare Orange County students for career and college. Exposing the future workforce to these fields is crucial to the region’s innovation and new job creation in the modeling and simulation industry.

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