DE SOTO, Kan. — On Saturday, November 4, Panasonic, NASA, the National Institute of Aerospace and other groups are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Panasonic breaking ground on it’s EV Battery Plant with STEM Fest.
The event will help around 1,000 local students learn more about careers in STEM. That industry will make up much of the work done at Panasonic’s $4 billion plant being built right now in De Soto once it opens in early 2025.
“If we can help students identify interest by the time they leave high school, they at least have an idea what direction they want to go,” said De Soto USD 232 Assistant Superintendent Alvie Cater.
That’s why the district says it’s excited to already be working with Panasonic before the massive battery plant’s walls are even finished.
About 80 De Soto students and hundreds of other kids from around the metro will be at STEM Fest at Johnson County Community College, joining Panasonic Foundation Executive Director Alejandra Ceja.
“We know the future of work is going to require some level of STEM proficiency and so that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Ceja said.
The hope is that exposure to STEM early will lead to well-trained workers later and open up career paths students might not and otherwise known about.
“I think that’s a lot of the work that’s part of the mission of the Panasonic Foundation is how do we level the playing field for more young women, more students of color to not only have access but to have really strong pathways in STEM,” Ceja said.
Panasonic donated $25,000 to the De Soto USD 232 District a year ago when it started building its massive facility and Cater says he expects more events like this one in the future.
“I think its a sign of things to come with Panasonic’s influence on a global stage really trying to drive home the message there is opportunity in STEM careers,” Cater said.
The event is free but people who want to go should reserve a spot. You can do that here.