A total of 34 leaders from nine other Midwest states met with representatives from Gov. Terry Branstad's STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Advisory Council in Des Moines yesterday, the governor's office said in a release.

The meeting included education leaders and STEM experts from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, who joined business leaders from DuPont Pioneer, IBM Corp., Deere & Co., Rockwell Collins Inc., Vermeer Corp. and Boston Scientific Corp.

They discussed how to move STEM to the forefront of community discussions, how to establish a regional network and how to better engage rural communities.

A representative from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy also briefed the group on science and technology workforce data and trends.

Iowa's STEM Advisory Council was formed in 2011 as a 40-member public-private partnership. Its director, Jeff Weld, told the Business Record last year that it was "now or never" in regard to reforming STEM education in the state of Iowa.