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Hands-on STEM spaces can improve diversity, collaboration

These hands-on collaboration spaces introduce opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math to new audiences that might not otherwise consider them.The Pacific Northwest has a legacy of leadership in technology, with a strong economy driven by a growing number of innovative employers in aerospace, technology, biotech and related industries.National rankings place Washington No. 2 in the concentration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) employment opportunities, but the percentage of our state’s graduates earning degrees in STEM fields is too low to meet this workforce demand.The shortfall in STEM workforce candidates is compounded by underrepresentation of minority students earning post-secondary science, technology or math degrees. Although more first-generation and underserved minority students are entering colleges and pursuing STEM majors, recent statistics indicate that only 29 percent of Latinx students, 25 percent of Native American students and 22 percent of African American students complete a STEM degree within six years....