Pioneering A New Path For STEM Education
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BY CLIFTON B. VAN IV
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – MAY 2013; VOLUME 45; NUMBER 5
Local business helped immerse teachers in real-world experiences
It said that in the next six years, the jobs related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) will grow 70 percent faster than other jobs and also estimated that there will be 2.4 million jobs created in STEM arenas during that time period. As for today’s manufacturing and engineering keeps growing, it also mean that manufacturing and engineering jobs require specialized skills but the growth is threatened by the lack of qualified individuals, not the economic crisis. Workers with the right training are in high demand but many companies cannot seem to find the right employees.
Many teachers in United States don’t understand how important manufacturing to their nation and they think that their country doesn’t produce manufactured things anymore. However, America still provides more than 20 percent of all the manufactured goods around the world. Educators aren’t aware of the industries supported by these types of education, as a result the education system is underfunded, and teachers are trying to do more and more with less. Ultimately, the outcome won’t be good if there are no further actions. One of the answers to the problem at hand is for the private sector to become actively involved in education.
Not only do the educators lack some of the resources they need, but technology today is very dynamic. Therefore, teachers need the private sector to come into schools and put things into context by providing them with real-world applications. That is why a conglomerate of companies took an active role in creating and implementing a program called STEMersion. The purpose of STEMersion was to get STEM educators involved with local companies to teach them why STEM education is important. To implement STEMersion, this program has to establish collaboration with many companies and fortunately many companies had expressed interest in STEM education in one way or another.
The premise of the program was for teachers to spend time in each company learning more about how science, technology, engineering, and math are used in the workplace. This immersion would allow them to prepare students better for jobs of the 21st century. STEMersion up to be a two-week program with teachers spending up to two days at each company. Each company created a curriculum for the day or days the teacher would be at their facilities. Curriculum were created in order to ensure that teachers would take something applicable back to the classroom.
At the end of STEMersion teachers’ feedback was phenomenal. They were excited about what they had learned. Over the course of two weeks, they realized how many job opportunities really exist in the fields of engineering and manufacturing.
“I can now teach with a greater passion because now I know what I am talking about.” – Alicia Long, Olympic High School
“This has been one of the best workshop I have attended in 25 years.” – Stacy White, Mallard Creek High School
“I thought it was great! STEMersion gave us an in-depth view of the companies, what they did and the knowledge required to do it.” – Andrea Spool-White, Philip O. Berry High School
“I’ve learned that there are a lot of companies out there that want education to be very successful, and I am so appreciate for what they have done for us.” – Clifton Jones, Northridge Middle School
The full version of the article is available in IIE Laboratory. It is also readable online for IIE member through accessing the iienet.org website. Contact Maya (President of IIE BINUS University Chapter) at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the IIE membership.