SkillsUSA Resource Helps Students Explore STEM Careers Earlier
Jump into STEM! Releases Middle-School Edition
Leesburg, Va. – In 2015, SkillsUSA launched its free member resource, Jump into STEM!, a curriculum developed for high-school students to use to mentor elementary-school students on future career path options. Based on the huge success of the elementary- school edition, SkillsUSA has released 22 new Jump into STEM! lessons designed to provide opportunities to engage middle-school students in STEM-related activities. The Jump into STEM! program now provides tools and activities for SkillsUSA members to help both elementary- and middle-school students take part in interactive career experiences. Whether the middle-school student wants to be a radiologist or a welder, a graphic designer or a pastry chef, a child life specialist or a podcaster, there is information on a possible career for the future. With this groundbreaking program, SkillsUSA members are continuing to bridge the gap between younger students and careers related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The newly released edition of Jump into STEM! is a career exploration curriculum designed specifically for middle-school students. It provides the tools for SkillsUSA members to prepare the next generation of employees, employers, managers, business owners and leaders. The benefits of Jump into STEM! for middle-school students are numerous, as are the rewards for SkillsUSA members. Preparing for and facilitating these sessions develops essential elements of the SkillsUSA Framework, focused on the development of personal, workplace and technical skills. Chapter members will display professionalism, leadership and excellent communication when interacting with teachers and students. Jump into STEM! allows members to share their own experiences with younger students. Members will highlight the classes they are taking as well as activities of their local chapter. The members’ enthusiasm is an ideal recruitment resource for your CTE program and SkillsUSA. An additional benefit of this program is the chance to educate school administration, counselors, teachers and parents about the excellent CTE careers available to students today.
“We are excited to bring this resource into schools because it helps shine a light on career and technical education in the community,” says Tim Lawrence, SkillsUSA executive director. “Jump into STEM! allows students to begin having career conversations, and can spark their interest in a specific career much sooner. The program also gives SkillsUSA members the opportunity to practice speaking and facilitation skills, which helps in the development of their personal and workplace skills.”
The program is sponsored by State Farm Insurance Companies, and is available at no charge to SkillsUSA’s 4,000 member chapters nationwide. Any SkillsUSA chapter can use the resource, which has been provided to chapter advisors as part of their professional membership. Elementary- and middle-schools can contact their local SkillsUSA chapter to request that the program be presented, either as a STEM career festival with rotating sessions, or as a series of sessions held on several different days — for one classroom or the entire school as schedule permits.
SkillsUSA is a vital solution to the growing U.S. skills gap. This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. Founded in 1965 and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education, the association serves more than 300,000 member students and instructors each year in middle schools, high schools and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level. SkillsUSA programs are integrated into career and technical education through a framework of personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Local, state and national championships, designed and judged by industry, set relevant standards for career and technical education and provide needed recognition to its students. SkillsUSA also offers technical skill assessments and other workplace credentials. For more information, go to: www.SkillsUSA.org.