Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math fields are going unfilled because the number of students earning college degrees in these disciplines is not meeting workforce demands.
For the fourth straight year, Penn State Harrisburg is joining with six local school districts to foster awareness of those careers for 120 ninth graders on March 10.
Data from the College Board show the number of Pennsylvania high school students taking the SAT exam who have an intended college major in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) discipline is not meeting workforce and future needs. In 1999 and 2000, more than 17,000 high school seniors indicated a STEM interest. That number slid to 15,500 in 2005 and was at 15,000 in 2008.
The 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. STEM Career Launch, a comprehensive learning experience for students from Susquehanna Township, Central Dauphin East, Harrisburg, Steelton-Highspire, Harrisburg Science and Technology, and Middletown Area high schools, includes career and education sessions with Penn State Harrisburg faculty and staff and professionals in the field.
Barbara Thompson, director of the Penn State Office of Multicultural Recruitment and Community Affairs, says, “The program is designed to expose and encourage high school students to understand course work and work requirements and to consider higher education in math and science related areas. We know that opportunities exist for which many students are underprepared and the STEM Career Launch is an effort to improve awareness. The event provides an educational experience through a combination of learning tools including lectures, teamwork activities, hands-on discovery, and mentoring.”
Penn State Harrisburg faculty, staff, and students serve as mentors in the program with professionals involved in STEM careers hosting 40-minute career sessions. Scheduled to
participate from the college are: Assistant Professor of Information Systems Roderick Lee, Associate Professor of Chemistry Thomas Eberlein, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Richard Ciocci, and Police Officer Frank Divonzo. Representing community professions will be: Lisa Barletta, manager, Outpatient Services, Department of Pharmacy, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; Paula Gibson, The Hershey Company; and L. Rick Sayles, Penn State Dauphin County Cooperative Extension.