S.T.E.M.

Silicon Valley Companies Encouraging Local Student to Aspire for High-Tech Jobs

Internships, contests and engineering coursework give teens from the area’s majority-Latino high schools an entree to STEM careers. 

Most students at the high school, on San Jose’s East Side in the southern end of Silicon Valley, are from Mexican immigrant families. Nearly all will be the first in their families to go to college; some will be the first to complete high school. The kids who grow up in Silicon Valley’s Latino neighborhoods, the children of groundskeepers, janitors, cooks and construction workers, rarely get a shot at high-paying, high-tech jobs. Just 4.7 percent of the Valley’s tech professionals are Latino and 2.2 percent are African-American, according to 2015 data from the American Community Survey. By contrast, 57 percent are foreign-born, with many coming from India and China, a local industry group estimates.

Silicon Valley STEM

FIRST Championship About Way More Than Robotics

It’s about the lessons it teaches its students, the empowerment it creates for its teachers, and the love of learning it fosters among all involved. FIRST Championship is the shining example of everything FIRST values: teamwork within and between teams; learning and on-the-fly problem-solving; “Coopertition®,” which is what we like to call displays of unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition; and “Gracious Professionalism®,” which encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and shows respect for everyone.

FIRST Championship is an incredible experience with many lessons, but there are three that can be applied to every classroom.

1. It’s not about winning—it’s about the journey

Competition is about so much more than who comes out on top. True winning means we’ve inspired a real love of learning in our students, teaching them to solve problems, work collaboratively, and communicate with others. Most important, it teaches them humility and resilience in the face of failure, and the innovation and creativity they need to overcome these obstacles. Our students frequently tell us they leave our program as very different people than when they joined. They transform from timid to confident leaders, from hesitant to adept engineers, and it’s a pleasure for us to watch them grow.


Innovation Lab Program Emerged from International Baccalaureate Authorization

A collective effort by the academic leadership team of the Solomon Schechter Day School of
Bergen County, the development of our Innovation Lab program emerged from our pursuit of
the International Baccalaureate(IB) authorization. As part of that effort, we introduced a design
thinking course in our middle school and hired a part-time design thinking faculty member.
 
Andrew Katz, our Director of Academic Affairs joined the school in mid 2017, bringing with him
experience in design and building innovation labs at two previous independent schools. Once we
created our vision for the program, we were fortunate enough to receive a donation from an
alumni parent, which enabled us to turn our vision into a reality. We then quickly turned our
focus to hiring an experienced director of the lab, and together - along with our science team,
librarian, and educational technology team -  began concentrating on developing a robust
curriculum, designing the space, and focusing on interdisciplinary integration across the school.
 
Our team also visited and initiated relationships with community maker spaces, such as the
Maker Depot in Totowa, N.J., which have offered advice regarding 3D printing and
demonstrated potential tools that will further inspire our design courses.
Solomon Schechter NJ

Dual Mission Education Institutes in Higher Education

As higher education faces declining enrollment numbers, reduced state funding, and accusations that it is elitist and out of reach for many Americans, university presidents, chancellors, and system heads from Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, and Utah, discussed new and innovative models of education that are addressing some of higher ed’s greatest challenges and the shortage of skilled workers. The dual education model can help universities save costs by sharing staff, faculty and infrastructure (it is essentially two schools for the price of one) and keep tuition low. It also allows students who start on a community college track to easily transfer their credits if they choose to continue their studies towards an advanced degree, and to do so much more seamlessly than if they were to transfer to a different school. Additionally, its open admissions policy means more underrepresented populations are getting a shot at a degree in higher education. 

The summit was hosted by Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the Utah State Board of Regents and UVU President Matthew Holland

With higher education increasingly in the cross-hairs, the summit provided a lively and timely debate on the future of higher ed and how to provide improved access to quality programs for students across the spectrum of need and opportunity. The following are transcripts from the conversation and links to the video.


$1.2 Million to Recruit Students to Become STEM Teachers

The grant from the National Science Foundation was awarded to the William & Mary, Robert Noyce Scholarship Program and allocated over five years to increase the number and diversity of students from STEM disciplines who become teachers.

The award was announced by Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine.

“Enhancing STEM education is a critical priority, and we are thrilled that William and Mary students and the National Science Foundation are partnering with schools in the local community to pursue this important endeavor,” Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement.


Preparing the Workforce to Adapt and Work Collaboratively with Robotic Solutions

Manufacturing in the U.S will build on its current strength by using “technology to empower American potential and ingenuity," according to the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM).

The institute, which is a member of Manufacturing USA, a network of regional institutes, looks to robotics to bring about the change. Robotics can “elevate, not eliminate the human roles in manufacturing,” ARM says.

The group’s mission is to help train the future workforce for the high-value careers that will determine the future of manufacturing. And it focuses on lowering the economic, technical, and operational barriers that companies experience in trying to adopt robotic technology.

Advance Robotics for Manufacturing

Study Finds LECTURERS Still Dominate STEM Education

An analysis of more than 2,000 college classes in science, technology, engineering and math has imparted a lesson that might resonate with many students who sat through them: Enough with the lectures, already.

Published in the journal Science, the largest-ever observational study of undergraduate STEM education monitored nearly 550 faculty as they taught more than 700 courses at 25 institutions across the United States and Canada.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Marilyne Stains and her colleagues found that 55 percent of STEM classroom interactions consisted mostly of conventional lecturing, a style that prior research has identified as among the least effective at teaching and engaging students.

Lecturer STEM

Community College MakerSpaces Offer Work-Based Learning in California

The CCC Maker Initiative is offering internships and work-based learning experiences for students through 24 California Community College makerspaces, where students gain technical, entrepreneurial and work-ready skills sought by employers.

“Makerspaces are widely recognized now as adaptive labs where learning is contextualized,” said Sierra College Superintendent/President Willy Duncan. “Faculty can offer meaningful projects tied to curriculum and students gain practical skills by interacting with industry partners. In a college makerspace, students practice innovation, develop problem-solving skills and connect to industry partners in cutting-edge fields. It is very motivating for students to see the application of what they have learned in the classroom.”  (https://cccmaker.com/)

Sierra College is serving as the administrator and fiscal agent of the $17 million CCC Maker initiative, which is funded by a grant from the California Community College Chancellors Office, and is focused on developing educational makerspaces within the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy (http://doingwhatmatters.cccco.edu/) framework at community colleges throughout the state.

MakerSpaces in California

"What's So Cool About Manufacturing," Contest in Pennsylvania

While there are many initiatives across the country to encourage young students to study STEM subjects and pursue technical careers, one effort does this in a way that pairs learning about manufacturing with developing video production skills. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” contest is an annual event that allows students from across the state of Pennsylvania to explore different career options in manufacturing by meeting with a local company, and then creating and filming a video that explores that company’s products and services. This opportunity provides the students with experience in planning, scripting, and shooting video content, while at the same time exposes them to what it is like to work in the manufacturing industry, and the different types of career options offered.
 
The contest, which is funded under a 2013 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s “Discovered in PA, Developed in PA” program, was created by the Manufacturer’s Resource Center (MRC) and provides students and their teachers (who function as coaches) with camera equipment and video production software to use in creating their entries. The contest has expanded to a total of eleven additional states under the Dream It. Do It. brand that was created by the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, DC.
 
What's So Cool About Manufacturing

Business Community Aims to Increase Employer Investment in Workforce Training

“Quality Pathways: Employer Leadership in Earn and Learn Opportunities,” highlights the importance of employer leadership in developing a growing workforce that meets the needs of a modernizing United States economy.
 
“Last year, President Trump charged the business community with finding solutions to help close the skills gap and connect workers with opportunities to develop skills they need to be successful in a 21st century economy,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “By putting forward this solution, the U.S. business community isn’t sitting on the sidelines – we’re leading the way. Together, we’ve developed a bold solution to improve employer leadership and investment in quality on-the-job learning opportunities. We look forward to implementing this model across the country so today’s students are prepared to be the workers and business leaders of the future.”
 
“Quality Pathways” aims to empower both learners and employers by establishing a business-led recognition system for high-quality earn and learn opportunities based on business best-practices. Creating employer-led earn and learn pathways will also help build stronger connections between employers and their workforce and close the skills gap by connecting job creators with more ready-to-work Americans. To ensure long-term sustainability and success of the system, the paper also calls for an ongoing process to organize businesses across industries.
Quality Pathways

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