Talk to students about the importance of maintaining their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through high school and you might see some eyes glaze over. It’s not because they don’t understand the general concepts. It’s because sometimes students find it a challenge to connect the dots between these important subjects and how they relate to future career opportunities. It’s a further stretch to understand that STEM subjects can also build critical thinking, problem solving, innovation and entrepreneurship skills.
A study conducted by Let’s Talk Science and AMGEN Canada in 2015, shed considerable light on student and parental attitudes towards STEM subjects. One of the numerous findings in the report shows that “parents recognize the importance of a STEM education – 75% say that most jobs will need at least basic math and science. 69% of parents surveyed believe that a STEM education prepares students to become critical thinkers, and 76% say it helps them be innovators and entrepreneurs (Spotlight on Science Learning;Exploring Parental Influence:Amgen Canada & Let’sTalk Science Survey 2015).
Students who maintain STEM subjects will find they have a broader range of postsecondary options to choose from.When this is combined with an advanced diploma from St. Clair College, career opportunities after graduation are greatly enhanced.
“Students who come to St. Clair with Grade 12 Math and their sciences will find they are better prepared for the rigors of postsecondary courses,” says Darryl Danelon, Chair, Faculty of Engineering Technologies. “It allows them to hit the ground running, giving them more opportunities to get involved in things like applied research projects”.
These skills are also important for employers in industries such as information and engineering technology, manufacturing, sustainable energy, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and health care to name a few.
Larry Koscielski, Vice President of Process & Technology Development for CenterLine (Windsor) agrees that a focus on STEM subjects throughout high school and postsecondary education will build the types of skills employer’s value. “One way or another we all make a living by solving problems for our customers. Critical thinking and problem solving skills in a collaborative environment helps us build on each other’s ideas to get to the best solution”.
St. Clair College combines a career-relevant higher education with outstanding facilities where learning labs reflect real-world technology environments. The Cisco Network Academy certified computer labs that support Computer Networking, Internet Applications & Web Development and Mobile Applications, provide students with state-of-the-art technology on which to practice their skills. Recently, St.Clair College was ranked #1 in Canada for females enrolled in the Computer Networking programs by the Cisco Network Academy.
Within the past 18 months the College has significantly expanded its applied research undertakings, providing students with a chance to work with industry partners to improve business processes and products. Students in programs such as CAD/CAM, Robotics, and Biomedical Engineering Technology are working with companies who specialize in metal cutting, mould making, tool and die, and medical startups.
The College recently received a grant to run a two year applied research project in manufacturing and industrial automation with a focus on “Industry 4.0”. Dr. Peter Wawrow, the College lead for applied research says these projects will focus on the communication between people and technology. “Students will work on real-time processes and how to improve efficiencies for our industry partners. I like to refer to it as the internet of things applied to the manufacturing technology environment”.
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