Pa. must focus on STEM
The continued boom in Marcellus shale gas drilling is one example of why Pennsylvania needs a growing, skilled STEM workforce.
A recent RAND Corp. study highlighted current and future demands as industries grow and skilled laborers retire. Filling these positions will require a great STEM education at the K-12 level. Students need preparation for the future by making them career-ready, not just graduation-ready.
Educators need to create relationships with companies statewide so that students can be introduced to emerging careers. For example, we worked with BirdBrain Technologies of Pittsburgh to introduce new STEM skills to students by teaching them to write code to control robots. These relationships, as well as internships, field trips and virtual collaboration, involve valuable, hands-on experience that gives students ideas for their future career paths and the expertise to succeed in their chosen fields.
The Marcellus shale boom is just the beginning for STEM-related jobs. We need to provide students with the hands-on training, skills and technological capabilities to fill these high-paying jobs. Not doing so means we've failed Pennsylvania's future workers and the industries which will accelerate our commonwealth's economic growth.
Maurice “Reese” Flurie
The writer is CEO of Commonwealth Charter Academy.