Governor Sandoval declares 'Year of STEM': Here's what that means

Nevada Gov. Sandoval explores one of the booths before announcing that the 2016-2017 school year is the 'Year of STEM.'

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval proclaimed the 2016-2017 school year the 'Year of STEM' in fitting fashion Monday, signing the papers that were handed to him by a robot.

"How cool is that?" Sandoval said to a crowd of Sparks High School students.

The 'Year of STEM,' which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, is an initiative headed by the Governor's Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT).

The initiative doesn't allocate any additional money to STEM education in Nevada; rather, it is a push for an added emphasis on STEM fields in public schools.

"It's a new type of skill set that (students) have to have, and that's a STEM skill set," Sandoval said. "That's what we need to teach in the high schools and moving up through the community colleges and the universities so that they'll be prepared for the workforce of the future."

Some of the goals of the initiative are introducing students to STEM fields and helping them graduate with skills that better match what technology employers are seeking.

Sandoval said the push might even help entice technology companies to the Silver State.

"It's really important for economic development when we go out and recruit these companies that we have initiatives like this that are developing the workforce of tomorrow," Sandoval said.

The announcement itself, plus the fact that Sandoval made the announcement in Washoe County, was exciting for the county's School Board President Angela Taylor.

"Five years from now, (STEM education) is just going to be the regular way you do business," Taylor said. "Then STEM isn't something that is separate so we don't have to have the 'Year of STEM,' it's just a part of (the students) learning what they need to learn."

Each month in the 'Year of STEM' will have a different theme, ranging from renewable energy to coding.

According to the governor's office, OSIT will host monthly events across the state relating to the different STEM themes.

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