Today is National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Day or STEM. Day, recognized annually on November 8th.
According to the PEW Research Center, employment in STEM occupations have grown 79 percent since 1990, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million, many of which are high-wage careers. PEW reports that those with some college education, working full-time earn $54,745 while a similarly educated non-STEM employee earns 26 percent less. Watch videos of employees in STEM Careers speak about their experience in the industry here.
STEM is also one of the 16 Career Clusters® in the National Career Clusters® Framework. Learners can begin cultivating a path towards a STEM career in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study. This year, the Digital Design and Engineering Academy at William J. Pete Knight High School in Lancaster, California received the National Excellence in Action award in the STEM Career Cluster.
This high-quality program of study launched in 2010 to provide learners with rigorous and integrated academic and technical coursework, in addition to the full continuum of work-based learning experiences. Learners can earn college credit for both engineering and general education/core academic courses through articulation agreements and Advanced Placement. The engineering program of study benefits from partnerships with industry leaders such as Northrop Grumman, Edwards Air Force Base, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Lockheed Martin and even NASA. Internships offered by these leading employers often lead to employment opportunities upon graduation.
In addition to internships, learners gain valuable experiences by using real-world skills to help communities. Learners took the lead in developing a partnership with Grid Alternatives, a non-profit organization that brings reliable energy to communities that are not on the electrical grid through solar power technology. The Academy students assisted a school in Nicaragua with no access to power.
In a recent report, Understanding the Equity Challenge in Career Technical Education, Advance CTE shared the historical gender inequities in CTE. To ensure all learners have access to STEM education and careers, the engineering academy has hired female instructors and created events focused on young women in STEM. As a result, the 2016-17 class had a 16-percentage point increase in female enrollment.
Learners recently traveled to Australia and competed in the 2018 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) challenge. This competition highlights how drones can be used to help people in health related situations. The teams from Knight High School won first and second place in the Airborne Delivery Challenge, which tests learner’s application of drone technology to drop an EpiPen to a simulated “lost hiker.” They also won the Best Rookie Team award.
To learn more about this program of study read their profile here.