U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten visited Brooklyn on Wednesday, where she hailed Brooklyn STEAM Center as the “perfect example” of a school preparing students for careers in the modern economy.
During her visit, the education bigwig applauded Brooklyn STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) for their work in extending college and career pathways for high school students.
Marten met with staff, students, parents and neighboring educational leaders to hear about the facility’s work in promoting academic excellence and workforce readiness.
“Some of the particular magic that you see here is not magic. It’s actually very intentionally designed for whole-human design. Students are able to very articulately talk about how they feel supported as a learner and there’s this deep sense of belonging,” Marten told Brooklyn Paper. “I heard it from the parents, I heard it from the students and I heard it from the educators. Everybody feels like they belong here.”
Marten toured the school as a part of the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” tour, and it came on the same day that her boss’ boss, President Joe Biden, renewed his call to build the “best-educated workforce” in the world during his State of the Union address.
Eager students led Marten through their halls, showing her their media classrooms of advanced camera equipment and the culinary arts center where students learn food preparation and safety.
“Secretary [Miguel] Cardona’s mission is to raise the bar, lead the world and The Brooklyn STEAM Center is a perfect example of what it means to lead the world,” she said. “This Brooklyn STEAM center and this Navy Yard complex is exactly what we want to see for our future.”
The innovation hub which opened its doors in 2019, shuttles 11th and 12th graders from 8 partnering schools to their facility. From there students pick from 6 career pathways — construction and technology, culinary arts and hospitality, cyber-security, design and engineering, film and media and full stack development.
According to Dr. Kayon Pryce, the founding principal at the Brooklyn STEAM Center, the staff is laser-focused on equipping students with the appropriate industry, professional and networking skills needed to excel after graduation, while developing a sense of identity and self-agency.
“By being in this space, we’re allowing our young people to really explore and unlock their potential and passion,” Pryce said.“It’s ensuring that our young people can be what they can now see because often times they don’t know these careers exist and they are not exposed to the careers of the next century or of the future and so being at a place like this really helps bridge the gap.”
By the time they graduate they will have technical and professional skills, career credentials, a growing portfolio and networking system.
“It’s creating more opportunities for young people and their families to be engaged with employers, business owners, entrepreneurs and folks that are creating next generation technology right here in Brooklyn,” Price said.
Located in the heart of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, students often collaborate with the surrounding businesses to gain those industry related credentials and on-the-job experience.
Lindsay Greene, president and CEO of the urban manufacturing hub, believes having young minds work in tandem with growing businesses helps the overall development of the community .
“I think it’s pretty transformative. It helps us do our work in the city to ensure that when we have new industries and businesses that create jobs, that they hire locally,” Greene told Brooklyn Paper. “The students have a direct plug in to know that what they are working on in the classroom exists in a business setting, on a factory floor.”
According to Marten, the work of this school unlocks career success through work-based learning, vocational navigation, dual enrollment, industry credentials — all things the U.S. D.O.E. want for the American education system.
“Overall I think the Brooklyn community is going to benefit because this program is giving them the workforce that they need,” Marten said. “They are giving them what they need, when they need it, in the way that they need it.”
For more coverage of the Brooklyn STEAM Center, head to BrooklynPaper.com.
Update (Feb. 9, 4:11 p.m.): This story has been updated to make minor spelling corrections.