The North Country Workforce Partnership Awarded Federal Grant to Fund Innovative Authentic STEM Pre-Apprenticeship Program

The North Country Workforce Partnership Awarded Federal Grant to Fund Innovative Authentic STEM Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Plattsburgh, NY – The future of education and workforce development is here in the form of Authentic STEM.

The North Country Workforce Partnership, Inc. (NCWP) is proud to announce the receipt of a $335,834 grant supporting its efforts in expanding its innovative Authentic STEM pre-apprenticeshp program that is funded jointly by the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Authentic STEM is an international education and workforce development program connecting students in the United States with students in Germany. Together, they work as solver teams using STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math)-based curriculum and a problem-solving approach to answer challenges faced by local businesses. As a joint partnership between the NCWP, Champlain Valley Educational Services, the North Country Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Siegen (Germany), the program was piloted in February 2022 in collaboration with Schluter Systems LP. 

“We are honored to receive this opportunity!” said NCWP Executive Director Sylvie Nelson.  “Authentic STEM is changing the conversation around career exploration and workforce development. This funding from the NBRC and the USDA empowers our team to expand this program while meeting our region’s students’ and employers’ unique needs. This is the future of career exploration and workforce development. The future is here!”

Authentic STEM rethinks what is possible in career and technical training, forging meaningful partnerships between students, teachers, schools, community organizations, and businesses while demonstrating how innovation improves the education and workforce development systems in the North Country.

“An innovative program like Authentic STEM needs early champions to become successful,” said Jordon LeBlanc, NCWP Programming Director, “The leaders at CV-TEC, including Career and Technical Education Director Michele Friedman and Student Services Coordinator Sherry Snow, as well as K. Bradley VanBrunt and Kris Renadette from Schluter Systems, and Susan Matton and Joel Wood from the North Country Chamber of Commerce have been indispensable to the early success of the program. They deserve all of the credit in the world for our program’s success to date.”

Additionally, this funding would not have been possible without the bipartisan support from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, NY State Senator Dan Stec, Assemblymember Billy Jones, Assemblymember Matt Simpson, Clinton County Board of Supervisor Chair Mark Henry, Town of Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman as they understand the power of Authentic STEM, including its partnership with the University of Siegen, in Germany.
“I proud to announce that over $300,000 in taxpayer dollars will return to our district to support the North Country Workforce Partnership in Plattsburgh and their innovative authentic STEM program,” Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21) said. “These funds will invest in our local economy by providing career and technical training and workforce development to address the workforce shortage and prepare students for good-paying jobs. I am proud to work each year to support and strengthen the Northern Border Regional Commission, so it can support our communities through important grants like this.”
“It is great to see the Northern Border Regional Commission investing into exceptional programs like the Authentic STEM Project, a partnership between the North Country Workforce Partnership, Champlain Valley Educational Services and the Universität Siegen of Germany to support local students who wish to enter STEM fields and create hands-on solutions to actual problems our region faces by working with local businesses and industry professionals,” said Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake). “I have been a long-standing supporter of the Authentic STEM Project and I want to thank all the groups involved in creating and implementing this opportunity for students across the North Country and the Commission for recognizing the importance of this program.”

This funding empowers the NCWP to further build on these partnerships,m and expand its ability to serve students and employers throughout the region- and beyond.

“CV-TEC is incredibly proud to be part of the NCWP partnership and the Authentic STEM Program, “ said Career and Technical Education Director Michele Friedman. “The North Country is rich in talent and it is through the framework that Authentic STEM provides, that we can connect our talent with opportunity!” Authentic STEM provides the conduit for our local talent to thrive on an international stage and in a global economy, added Friedman.

“The Authentic STEM initiative offers students the opportunity to discover the many career choices available in the North Country and beyond in the fields of Science and Technology. In collaboration with students in other parts of the world, students discover their strengths and what career choices appeal to them. The North Country Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a part of this important program and thanks all those involved in providing this valuable experience to students in our communities including businesses, schools, not-for-profit organizations, and our elected officials”, said Susan Matton, Vice President for Economic Development. “Congratulations to the North Country Workforce Partnership and thank you for leading this initiative and helping our economy continue to grow in the future.”

Already, the NCWP and its partners are planning to facilitate a minimum of six cohorts during the next Authentic STEM program, scheduled to start in February 2023.

For more information on the program or to become a partner, please contact Jordon LeBlanc, Director of Programming for the North Country Workforce Partnership, at (518) 561-0430, ext. 3083 or via email at


The North Country Workforce Partnership, Inc. is a regional workforce and economic development leader, serving as a central hub connecting businesses, organizations, and current and prospective workforce members. NCWP is committed to empowering the North Country’s workforce to thrive through inclusion and diversity. The NCWP supports the North Country Workforce Development Board activities through program development, grants, real estate, and other workforce development-related activities.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: