According to the Center for Childhood Creativity, “Data shows that young people are not graduating with the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly-evolving, technologically-driven workforce.” By 2024, 80% of the top 10 most in-demand STEM jobs in the Greater Lowell area will be in the technology sector – some of the most desired skills for many growing industries across the country.
Our Community Needs Kids Interested in STEM
With statistics like this, getting kids interested in technology related fields becomes imperative to the growth of our community. According to Geek.edu, only 10% of college STEM graduates are in Computer Science. Comparing that to the above statistic saying 80% of STEM jobs will be in technology, a shift is clearly necessary. However, after school programs such as After School Tech Club encourage kids of today who may not have seen technology as a path for them to investigate and learn about all the amazing opportunities technology offers while also having a great time.
14 year old Naomi had this to say about the After School Tech Club: “I did not think I was going to like Tech Club at first,” she shared, “but it is really fun and interesting. I like that we get to build things, tear them apart, and build again. We also get to go on field trips and see real tech people at their jobs. I get to learn things that I do not learn in school.”
Naomi now plans to attend vocational high schools and pursue a career in Automotive Technology, Engineering Technology or Carpentry.
Kids in Tech Programs and their Influence
The After-School Technology Club enables children in underserved communities to engage with technology and businesses. Over 300 students have participated in the club to date. According to a survey conducted after the program, 77%of the students said they are now considering a career in technology. In addition, 69% said their grades improved and 70% said they will enjoy Math and Science classes more.
In addition to the After-School Technology Club, Kids in Tech also hosts Beyond the Microscope, a series of 7 webinars between February and September. Beyond the Microscope has been running for two seasons and we look forward to our sixth webinar which will be held at the end of this month. Viewers are able to login and interact with a panel of experts discussing important issues in their respective fields today.
For the third year in a row, Massachusetts STEM Week named Kids in Tech as a partner for this year’s STEM Week in October. STEM Week is a collaborative effort between the Executive Office of Education, the STEM Advisory Council, and the state’s nine Regional STEM Networks, which plan and coordinate activities with local schools, community leaders and business partners. Kids in Tech will host “Everyday Engineering: Using the Ordinary to Create the Extraordinary,” will deepen 5 – 8 grade students’ understanding of the different branches of engineering. The challenge will cover the five pillars of engineering and include a series of webinars to simulate the activities. Kids in Tech plans to reach 8,500 students with this design challenge.
These programs affect the way students view technology and learning in general through hands-on activities. Getting the opportunity to take something apart and discover an idea for themselves excites students to continue their investigation both in and out of the classroom and hopefully into their careers.