Mazda R.A.C.E Program Encourages STEM Education

You’ve heard it said before- today’s manufacturing is not your grandfather’s manufacturing. In today’s world, industries like manufacturing require a unique set of skills that can be honed by specialized training in STEM. Science, technology, engineering and math are now more important than ever to Florida’s economic development- in fact there are more than 60,000 STEM jobs available in Florida. But closing the STEM gap means showing students that STEM is more than it seems.

This is where Mazda’s “Racing Accelerates Creative Education” (R.A.C.E) program comes in. This national program helps high school students understand the real world applications of STEM careers by showing them firsthand how STEM is a vital part of an industry like motorsports.

Earlier this month, Mazda teamed up with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Council of 100 and the Florida Chamber to discuss the importance of STEM education to Florida’s economy with students and teachers at Robinson High School.

“We have 60,000 open STEM jobs in Florida, with 13,000 of those jobs right here in the Tampa Bay region,” said Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “We have an opportunity to better match the skills our students are learning to the jobs that will be available to them. Companies are going to go where the talent is, so we need to ensure we have the talent here in the Tampa Bay area.”

At the Florida Chamber, we believe STEM education is a vital part to Florida’s economic growth. And the productive discussions at Robinson High proved that our students and our state have an opportunity to grow.

“It’s clear from today’s discussion that there are already a lot of initiatives taking place across the board to elevate STEM education,” said Bob Rohrlack, President and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. “We need to continue that focus and align our efforts, so that the necessary steps are being taken today to empower tomorrow’s workforce in STEM-related jobs and careers.”

Also in attendance at the roundtable discussion were

  • Rep. Kathy Castor, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Ron Christaldi, Chairman, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
  • Molly Demeulenaere, Interim Director, Museum of Science and Industry
  • Ava Parker, Chief Operating Officer, Florida Polytechnic University
  • Larry Plank, Director of STEM education, Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Daniel James Scott, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Technology Forum
  • Jeff Vinik, Owner, Tampa Bay Lightning


Read the full release here.


Visit our Education page to see where we stand on STEM.

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