Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012

Youth Symposium Helps Students Understand Advanced Manufacturing

Youth Symposium Helps Students Understand Advanced ManufacturingAbout 1,000 Greenville County Schools eighth graders turned out for the Youth Symposium on Advanced Manufacturing and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education at Timmons Arena.

Dean Jones from SC Works Greenville told the students, “The United States is the largest manufacturing economy in the world, with 17 million jobs. If we want to increase the number of people who pursue careers in advanced manufacturing, we have to show you what it is all about.”

Students also heard Ryan Childers, a manager at BMW, discuss production of their sports activity vehicles. “The future is bright for choices in advanced manufacturing careers,” Childers said.  “Advanced manufacturing means making cool products by people who have careers in production, supervision, engineering, logistics, and many other areas. You can do this by finishing high school with a good GPA and taking STEM courses that will prepare you for college learning.”

The event, sponsored by the Greenville Region of Personal Pathways to Success, SC Works Greenville, and Greenville County Schools, highlighted careers in advanced manufacturing (use of technology to improve products), and STEM educational opportunities.

Students also had the opportunity to talk to manufacturing representatives from more than 25 STEM-related organizations. Companies included 3M, BMW, Kemet, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, ADEX Machining Technologies, Advanced Technology Services, Confluence Watersports, Robert Bosch, Fabrico, GE Aviation, GE Energy, Leigh Fibers, Caterpillar, Discovery Channel, Baldor, Southern Weaving, Advanced Composite Materials, LLC, and GTC.

Current STEM-related opportunities in Greenville County Schools include Gateway to Technology in six middle schools, Project Lead the Way in seven high schools, A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering, Hughes Middle Academy applied learning lab, F.I.R.S.T. Robotics, and LEGO Robotics.  Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School on the ICAR-Millennium Campus in Greenville will open in August 2014 with a STEAM focus, STEM plus the arts.

The school system also works with Greenville Technical College to provide additional opportunities for advanced study in automated manufacturing and to increase awareness of higher-paying, technology-oriented careers in today’s manufacturing environment.

Facts Related to Advanced Manufacturing and STEM Education

  • By 2014, there are expected to be two million jobs created in STEM-related fields (Gates Foundation).
  • The number of engineering degrees awarded in the United States is down 20% from the peak year of 1985. 
  • In 2005, 2.8 million students graduated from high school and 1.9 million went on to two and four year colleges. Fewer than 300,000 majored in STEM-related fields and only about 167,000 are STEM college graduates. (National Center for Education Statistics; Digest of Education Statistics.

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