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To increase its talent pipeline, Sumter treats students to annual STEM festival

eSTEAM Sumter Festival Nov. 2022
esteamsumter.com
eSTEAM Sumter Festival Nov. 2022

The annual eSTEAM Sumter festivalis a showcase of STEM and STEAM careers. The one-day event allows grade-school students to interact with vendors from Continental, Caterpillar, Eaton and other companies from the area’s industrial portfolio.

The annual eSTEAM Sumter festivalis a showcase of STEM and STEAM careers.

The one-day event in the Midlands allows grade-school students to interact with vendors from Continental, Caterpillar, Eaton and other companies from the area’s industrial portfolio.

The Link Economic Development Alliance is a public-private economic development organization that facilitates the creation of jobs and the investment of capital in Lee and Sumter Counties. Erika Williams serves as manager of communications and strategic initiatives. She said the annual event is an important part of growing the area’s talent pipeline.

“We try to hit our students from all angles.” She said they host programs from elementary to high school programs; with the festival bringing students of all ages together with companies and also parents.

Williams said there is significant growth in the festival. In its first year, the festival featured 65 vendors. During this weekend’s event, students and parents will be able to interact with 90 in more intentional exhibits.

Picture of Erika Williams
Erika Williams

“Year one, we had those vendors who just wanted to participate to support," Williams said. "Now the interactive displays are a little more intricate. Now, we’ve added a parade component, other activities and other areas of the festival.”

Williams said early indicators of success include seeing an increase in schools seeking or desiring to be STEM certified and increases in schools hosting STEM clubs and STEM nights. The goal, she said, is to plant the seed.

The eSTEAM Sumter Festival is Saturday, October 7th from 10 until 3 in downtown Sumter, SC.

Thelisha Eaddy is the local Morning Edition host for South Carolina Public Radio.