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.
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.
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.
Adult education programs are crucial to alleviating this gap and helping all Americans achieve economic and social mobility. Educate & Elevate is a national campaign to educate America about the importance of adult education in advancing career and college readiness, and making our workforce more globally competitive.
For years, there has been a disconnect between what businesses want new employees to know before they show up for work and what the applicant pool actually knows. The TPM initiative puts employers in the driver’s seat of workforce partnerships for demand-driven workforce solutions. And it’s working for states like Houston, Kansas, and Kentucky, with success stories from Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, and Arizona soon to come.
MAGNET, an Ohio MEP that recognized the growing need for high school graduates with STEM skills in order to sustain the manufacturing economy in Ohio, created an employer-led pre-apprenticeship program aligned with the Ohio Department of Education College and Career readiness graduation standards, and partnered with local public education and local employers.