Business Briefs: Learning Blade tops 1 million STEM lessons

Business Briefs: Learning Blade tops 1 million STEM lessons

November 14th, 2017 by Staff and Wire Reports in Business Around the Region

Learning Blade tops 1 million STEM lessons

The Chattanooga-based Thinking Media said Monday that students have now completed more than 1 million STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons focusing on technical career awareness through the Learning Blade programs.

Through the support of Tata Consultancy Services, Thinking Media has developed a robust STEM learning environment, which highlights 100 STEM careers and technologies by organizing them in 12 different missions. Learning Blade users were more than 59 percent more likely to intend to pursue STEM careers and 140 percent more likely to respond that they knew what STEM workers do for a living.

Statewide adoption of Learning Blade in Arkansas and Tennessee have contributed to the program reaching so many students.

"Offering Learning Blade at no cost to schools across the state has resulted in a powerful initiative that has given students, particularly in rural areas, an innovative way to explore future STEM careers," said Wesley Hall, director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.

Dane Boyington, chief technology officer for Thinking Media, said the students' work on 1 million lessons represents 175,000 hours of STEM engagement and helped many students realize the potential and appeal of STEM careers.

"If they don't know a career exists it is hard to strive for that future," he said.


Chattanooga nears mentorship goal

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and business member investors have recruited 94 percent of the 381 mentors needed to support the Tennessee Promise scholarship program in Hamilton County as of Monday.

"Hamilton County led the state last year in recruiting volunteer mentors and with Chattanooga State Community College, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Unum, our own Chattanooga Chamber and Regions Bank leading the way this year, we hope to exceed goal again," said Sybil Topel, vice president of marketing and communications for the Chamber.

Just 23 more volunteers are needed to reach the state-set goal as of Monday.

Mentors help five to 10 high school seniors transition to college by spending about an hour per month for about nine months.


Brookfield to pay $14 billion to acquire GGP

Brookfield Property Partners offering $14 billion to buy the remaining shares of mall owner GGP that it doesn't already own. Brookfield currently owns about 34 percent of GGP.

GGP Inc. said Monday that it received an unsolicited proposal from Brookfield Property Partners LP on Saturday. The offer would give each GGP shareholder $23 in cash per share or 0.9656 of a limited partnership unit of Brookfield.

GGP said a special committee will review the proposal. The company, which owns high-end malls near Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Water Tower Place in Chicago, where it is based, emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2010 with help from Brookfield.


Waupaca earns top Ford certification

Waupaca Foundry, Inc., a Hitachi Metals group company which operates a plant in Etowah, Tenn., has earned Q1 Certification from Ford Motor Company.

Waupaca Foundry supplies both gray iron and ductile iron castings to Ford used in braking, suspension, driveline and powertrain. Waupaca's 900-employee plant in Tell City, Ind., has supplied parts for Ford for over 20 years.

Waupaca Foundry uses a production management system called "Waupaca Way" which engages all employees in continual improvement of casting quality, production efficiency, customer service and on-time delivery.


Federal budget deficit up sharply in October

The federal government began its new budget year with an October deficit of $63.2 billion, up sharply from a year ago.

The Treasury Department reported Monday that the October deficit was 37.9 percent higher than the $45.8 billion deficit recorded in October 2016.

Both government receipts and spending were up for the month, with receipts climbing 14.3 percent to $235.3 billion, a record for the month of October. The larger spending figure was up a sizable 11.6 percent to $298.6 billion.

The deficit for the 2017 budget year, which ended on Sept. 30, totaled $666 billion, up 13.7 percent from a 2016 deficit of $586 billion.

Many forecasters believe the deficit will rise higher in the current budget year, reflecting the impact of proposed tax cuts Congress is considering and hurricane relief.