Connecting Educators and Industry: STEMersion’s Approach to Building the Workforce of TomorrowJune 26, 2019
By Jay Kramer
REGIONAL APPROACH TO A TALENT PIPELINE
It is no secret that the workforce of tomorrow will need technology and engineering skills to fuel industry innovation. Companies across industry sectors from advanced manufacturing to life sciences and High-Tech/IT fields continue to look toward educators to provide work-ready interns and applicants, ripe with skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Educators continue to seek out ways to innovate lesson plans, gearing them toward real-world situations that students will encounter in their careers.
After a successful 2018 pilot in Dorchester County, Charleston County Economic Development partnered with our allies in Dorchester and Berkeley Counties, along with the SC Department of Commerce, to deliver Tri-County STEMersion: an immersive, 2-week experience, connecting teachers with industry. Geared toward middle school and high school teachers, the goal was to create a hands-on learning environment designed to align lesson plans with industry’s real-world demands. With Charleston’s inherently collaborative environment, the area’s top teachers, and the region’s leading companies all on board as participants, the outcome was unforgettable. With “Alignment” the core mission of the 2-week experience, STEMersion 2019 delivered much more, including problem solving techniques, career path ideas, mentoring, and plenty of inspiring stories.
Visiting world-renowned companies such as Boeing, Bosch, Lincoln Electric and Volvo, the educators had their eyes opened to today’s clean, quiet, organized and safe manufacturing environments. Technical topics of discussion ranged from A3, 5S, 6Sigma and pre-emptive problem solving. The educators heard first-hand the importance of apprenticeships, and heard inspiring stories of career paths from team members at each manufacturer. An intern at Boeing shared her story and spoke of the empowerment her mentor gave her during her internship. She discussed the importance of a mentor in the classroom and on the job. An engineering and design associate shared his story, describing the importance of students not only consuming technology, but creating it; and what that looks like in today’s fast-paced work environment.
Beyond technical discussion, the educators took away a few words of wisdom from each company they visited. One of the most impactful messages delivered to the educators came from a Boeing team member. He said, “Attitude inspires altitude,” and that he can associate any success in his career to a positive attitude.
TOP TEACHERS & INSPIRING INDUSTRIES
Connecting the region’s most influential middle school and high school teachers with the region’s leading companies was nothing short of amazing. Educators left each day more enthusiastic than the day before and their accompanying lesson plans undoubtedly reflect this. Each company that hosted the STEMersion educators asked to become further involved in this initiative, and are eager to further connect with area schools.
A big “Congratulations” is in order for the educators selected to participate in STEMersion 2019 and a big “Thank you” for companies that hosted our educators. It’s said that “Today’s teachers have tomorrow’s future in their hands,” and the future is looking very bright.
Charleston County Economic Development’s Business Concierge Program focuses specifically on the needs of the companies who call Charleston Count home. Our team regularly meets with our companies, and offer resources to fuel growth. If we may be of assistance to your company, please visit CharlestonCountyDevelopment.org and contact us.