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GSK Kenan STEM Fellows > Business and Education Working Together to Inspire Next-Generation Talent for NC

Advanced technology is taking a firmer hold in workplaces around the world with each passing day, and modern job creators know that supporting a new generation of workers with the skills needed to adapt to these changes is only growing more critical for securing their future workforce. To that end, the GSK Kenan STEM Fellows program is one example of an innovative partnership between business and education leaders that is working to help North Carolina nurture a world-class talent pipeline and begin closing its skills gap.

GSK Kenan STEM Fellows comprise six middle and high school teachers in Wake County who have been given the opportunity to work alongside nanotechnology researchers at N.C. State University’s ASSIST Center to develop novel lesson plans based around cutting-edge design processes for wearable nanotechnology. The chance to participate in such a unique hands-on research experience allows these teachers to gain a more sophisticated understanding of the same innovative science concepts they are tasked with teaching to students in the classroom.

“Research shows students benefit when teachers engage in authentic science work experiences,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, the program responsible for overseeing the experience of the GSK Kenan STEM fellows, and which offers similar experiences to teachers in three other North Carolina counties. “By partnering with researchers, teachers are able to deepen their content knowledge. As a longtime supporter of our program, GSK recognizes the value of research experiences for teachers. GSK’s leadership level of support helps teachers create relevant learning experiences for students and inspires curiosity in science and math.”

In providing these hands-on opportunities, the GSK Kenan STEM Fellows initiative and the overall Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership are helping to pioneer new models that spotlight how hands-on immersion experiences for teachers can help to enrich the learning experiences of the students they teach. Such an enriched experience promotes deeper levels of engagement that can, in turn, inspire students to reach for greater heights in the fast-evolving fields of science, technology, engineering and math that are rapidly redefining the next generation workforce. The NC Chamber believes it is the successful pursuit of programs like these in communities across North Carolina that will ultimately help our state begin to shrink the widening skills gap facing job creators. You can learn more about the GSK Kenan STEM Fellows program and the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership by clicking here.

The NC Chamber and NC Chamber Foundation are continuing to prioritize efforts to get our state’s leaders working together on solutions to address our skills gap challenges. Every other Wednesday, we will be highlighting a new collaborative program or initiative between business and education. If you did not receive this email automatically, you can request to be added to these communications by completing this electronic form and selecting Education/Workforce/Talent Supply under the “Areas of Interest” section. To engage on Twitter, simply follow along using the hashtags #WorkReadyWednesday and #SkillsGap. If you would to learn more about the NC Chamber’s efforts to close the skills gap, contact Meaghan Lewis at Know of an innovative program that deserves to be highlighted for an upcoming #WorkReadyWednesday? Tell us more by contacting Cassi Zumbiel at

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber