LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Little Rock Air Force Base has announced a partnership that will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematic learning for Arkansas 5th grade students.

The 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base announced Tuesday its partnership with the Forge Institute to provide the STARBASE program in Arkansas. STARBASE is a one-week program designed to motivate 5th grade students to explore opportunities in STEM learning.

The program will begin Oct. 3. giving students the opportunity to receive 25 hours of class experiences on military installations, the announcement stated. 

Forge institute statistics show occupations in the STEM field are expected to grow 28% by 2029, compared to 3.7% for other occupations. Angela Ochoa, 19th Airlift Wing commander Colonel, said that the LRAFB has enjoyed the partnership.

“Little Rock Air Force Base has enjoyed a rich partnership with our surrounding school districts supporting STEM opportunities utilizing robust content of ‘hands-on – minds-on’ educational initiatives,” 19th Airlift Wing commander Colonel Angela Ochoa said.

STARBASE programs exist in 34 states with over 1.5 million students since it began in 1993. STEM knowledge scores increased to 17% overall for program participants, the release stated.

The Arkansas-based Forge Institute works to advance cyber capabilities. It partners with public and private entities across a range of services, including training.