MILLEDGEVILLE — A former Drug Enforcement Administration laboratory director wants Milledgeville to become a hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. With the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority’s (CSHLRA) help, Darrell Davis hopes to have the old Wilkes Building retrofitted for a laboratory program by next summer.
Davis retired from the DEA in August 2012 and approached the CSHLRA representing his Committee for Action Program Services (CAPS) non-profit last September.
CAPS is a science and technology organization that is located in Cedar Hill, Texas. The primary objective of the organization is to provide professional development for k-12 science educators and encourage minority students to seek STEM career fields.
Since then, Davis started a new for-profit company called CAPS-Analytical Training Laboratory, LLC. He wants Central State to house a CAPS-ATL facility as part of the campus reuse efforts.
“The whole idea is that we want to get more underrepresented kids into the STEM field,” the organization’s chairman said. “Kids from the CAPS program or other non-profits can do science fair or STEM projects in the facility.”
According to the vision statement, CAPS-ATL will be a leader in developing well-trained scientists to create a diverse 21st century workforce and conduct cutting edge research and provide analytical services for worldwide recognition and consumption.
Davis said the forensics field, which includes chemistry, video analysis, DNA analysis, engineering and criminalistics, is hard up for more specialists.
The Boston bombing incident suspects were found through quick forensic work. Davis said technological advances put a strain on organizations like the DEA to keep up with smarter criminals.
“There is almost a panic because backlogs and crime continue to go up, but there are no students in a workforce pipeline,” Davis said. “One of our goals is to get kids from this area into the program.”