The gap in work force skills in the United States today is becoming alarming. Our country and industries were built upon the hard work of our parents and grandparents. One of history’s largest generations is exiting the workplace in droves as the Baby-boomers retire. Over the next 10 years, there will be a huge hole left in our manufacturing and engineering industries. Many of the skills and knowledge that were taught to the baby boomers are no longer present in our education system – things have changed!
So how do we tackle the challenge of the skills gap? Some folks in Duncan, OK have developed a plan and are seeing great results. Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF) has partnered with K-12 schools and local businesses to leverage each group’s strengths.
DAEDF hosts an engineering contest to help increase student exposure to the great careers they can find in the manufacturing industries. They ask local manufacturers to mentor and judge the students as they design, build and race metric 500 CO2 cars.
PITSCO Education produces car kits and governs the rules used for contests all over the US. The schools around Stephens County have varying programs, but Duncan Middle School’s STEM program is a lead educational partner.
Recently DAEDF’s Jeannie Bowden, DMS STEM’s Tammy Bennett and GoEngineer’s Tandy Banks were invited to speak about this ongoing project during an EduTalk radio broadcast. They shared the success of this program which lies directly on a 3-pronged approach.
First step is getting educational institutions, industry leaders and economic development partners all involved in helping students obtain the needed skills and experiences to play vital roles in our industries. Collaboration between these 3 groups builds a community that will succeed with the challenges ahead.
Catch the recorded broadcast at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edutalk/2014/11/10/the-bounties-of-stem-in-workforce-and-economic-development