Change defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “to make radically different: transform”. This definition describes the positive outcomes that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) ‘hands-on’ education has on the future vocational availability to our west Jackson youth. The overarching goal of STEAM project-based learning is to provide youth with the skills to think critically and attain problem-solving competencies allowing them to be globally competitive.
According to a study published in the journal Crime & Delinquency, a large number of African-American men have already been arrested by the time they’re in their early 20s, “which can hurt their ability to find work, go to school and participate fully in their communities” 1 To our community’s youth, this is a reality that offers little to no hope to escape generational poverty and marginal survival without the coping mechanisms that provide long-term hope for personal, social, vocational, and educational fulfillment.
In order to prepare our youth for tomorrow, we have to develop programs for the future with deliberateness. In particular, much research has shown that careers of the future will be in science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM. In its 2015 report, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce noted “several of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in America are in STEM fields, and today many of those are sitting unfilled.”1 In addition, “by 2018, it is projected that 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled. At the same time, minorities are deeply underrepresented in STEM fields; 2.7% of African-Americans have earned a degree in STEM fields. This underrepresentation means that minorities lack qualifications to access STEM-related jobs, which, in addition to being more plentiful, are also better paid than many other jobs.”2
An article titled, “STEM Education: The Future of the U.S. Economy” by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO at Consumer Technology Association, discusses the growing need for technical degrees and skills. Shapiro explains that the supply does not equal the demand and that the issue is colleges aren’t producing graduates with the necessary skills to fill them. Shapiro suggests that America invest early on in K-12 education programs, colleges and higher education programs to avoid talent shortages in the future.3
VOCM and our STEAM TEAM collaborators’ initiative to bring the STEAM educational experience to our community’s youth is literally Changing the Narrative by providing our youth the opportunity to participate in project-based hands-on learning experiences that will better prepare them to think critically, problem solve to effectively handle world challenges and realize successful futures.
We will not allow our youth in west Jackson to be defined by their environments.
Please be our partner in this life-changing work.
To support our STEAM Initiative, you may donate by CLICKING HERE.
3 STEM Education: The Future of the U.S. Economy, URL: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stem-education-future-us-economy-gary-shapiro.
January 04, 2023