During our discussion about careers at the March 27 event at Hayes Middle School in West Virginia, many students indicated a desire to be a doctor or a veterinarian - careers traditionally popular among middle school-aged students. Loftis’ class, however, knows what it takes to get to these popular career choices. After participating in the STEM Scholars program, students demonstrate a better grasp of the STEM skills required to pursue these careers.
Despite historically low unemployment and a growing economy, hiring skilled workers remains a challenge in many of our nation’s key industries, such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, and healthcare. We know America’s young people have talent. Now it’s time to embrace the tools necessary to more effectively discover and guide that emerging talent to high demand careers.
The effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Puerto Rico have been well publicized, and there is much work ahead. The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) is proud to be one of hundreds of organizations on the island trying to facilitate a path forward for the people of Puerto Rico.
Closing the communications gap requires investments on both sides of the equation. Employers and education providers must work together to ensure the signals are accurate, clear, and verifiable. As the use of digital credentials expands, job seekers will gain unprecedented insight into the link between what they learn and the sort of employment opportunities that exist in their community -- or around the country. And for employers, the improved signal-to-noise ratio means a higher percentage of qualified applicants for each job opening, and improved ability of hiring managers to identify the best candidates for their position.
Last month, business leaders met in Washington, D.C. with the Honorable Mayita Meléndez, the Mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico. The event was an opportunity for the private sector to hear first-hand how they can help with the long-term recovery efforts in the city.
As the U.S. economy struggles to break out of economic stagnation, these investments in the different phases of education are indeed crucial, however greater attention should be paid to the role adult education programs play in sustaining and growing American commerce. Only by making these success stories more public and well known can we better position adult education advocates to make their case and secure financial resources for these vital adult education programs.
Breaking down STEM barriers starts in the classroom, providing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning in an inclusive digital environment. And this education shouldn’t be limited to high school students. Igniting STEM interest in middle school increases girls’ STEM interest later in their education.
“The devastation was worse than I imagined.”
This was just one comment in an echo of similar reactions by business delegates who joined the U.S. Chamber Foundation in Puerto Rico four months after Hurricane Maria made landfall.