Finger Lakes STEM Hub, AT&T, Rochester City School District, Rochester Museum and Science Center and Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America recently partnered to pilot Technology and Careers in Rochester Powered by AT&T, a summer science, technology, engineering and mathematics project.
The summer school class supported with online lessons and resources offered by RCSD with sequenced interactive exhibits and hands-on career exploration activities. The partnerships allowed for the course to be supplemented by field trips to RMSC through its interactive exhibits.
The course allowed for students to visit and be visited by businesses and professional association representatives that sponsor an exploring post established by Seneca Waterways Council. Exploring posts provide youth ages 14-20 with opportunities to learn the skills and training required to pursue their interests in a career field. Opportunities were available for students to pursue career-related experiences at RMSC and the exploring program after completing course requirements.
This project is supported by a $20,000 contribution from AT&T.
“We are pleased to have brought together outstanding community organizations in Rochester Museum and Science Center and Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts to partner with Rochester City School District to deliver this innovative pilot project to city youth” said Joe Marinelli, director of Finger Lakes STEM Hub. “We recognize the importance of bringing classroom instruction to life with interactive exhibits and career exploration to build curiosity and interest in STEM.”
AT&T’s supports the program through AT&T Aspire, a $400 million philanthropic initiative that brings resources such as funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring.
“AT&T is proud to collaborate with these dynamic organizations to develop and support this innovative experience for young men and women as it further enhances our commitment to providing resources for STEM‐related educational programming throughout Monroe County and the Finger Lakes region,” said Kevin Hanna, director of external affairs at AT&T. “Our economy continues to transform at a robust pace, requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and literacy vital to ensuring that the students of today are equipped to compete in the global innovation economy of tomorrow.”
“STEM fields are the future of our economy and our workforce,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-136th District. “By 2018, it is predicted there will be half a million jobs in STEM fields throughout New York state. It is critical that we keep our young people engaged in learning to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and resources to take advantage of future opportunities in these sectors.”
“Our city’s future depends on a workforce that is ready to work, grow and compete in STEM-related fields such as photonics, advanced manufacturing and many others,” Mayor Lovely Warren said. “Initiatives like the Technology and Careers in Rochester program build curiosity and interest in STEM at an early age, and helps us fulfill our mission to create better educational opportunities in our community which leads to more jobs and safer, more vibrant neighborhoods.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor, much of the growth in the domestic and global economy will come from STEM-related jobs. By 2020, there will be an estimated 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs. STEM workers are less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM peers.
The project has four components designed to introduce students to a broad range of STEM related careers: the City Living course; building curiosity and interest in STEM-related areas of construction, manufacturing, transportation and energy and power; from curiosity and interest to specific careers in action; and beyond the summer course.
City Living is a five-week course conducted by RCSD with 12 high school students who need a science, math or elective credit to graduate. The course explores technology and careers in Greater Rochester, giving students the opportunity to learn how local businesses are developing, innovating and testing new technologies.
The course explores construction, manufacturing, transportation, energy and power in and around Rochester. It is a blended class that includes online learning, field trips, hands-on projects and exploration of Rochester.
RMSC is a partner in building curiosity and interest in STEM-related areas of construction, manufacturing, transportation and energy and power, and is offering four experiences with stories, articles, experiments and inventions that transformed Rochester. The visits hands-on exhibits and activities to encourage students to better understand their role in Rochester’s future success. The activities use RMSC’s existing exhibitions and curriculum.
“Design thinking is Rochester Museum and Science Center’s focus for the students as they take on our four different challenges in our Inventor Center makerspace,” said J. Menelly, RMSC president and chief science officer. “RCSD seniors explore green energy designing wind turbine blades; flash LED lights within a windstorm, creating a storm chaser; complete a circuit by producing a mason jar light bulb for our Inside Incandescence Science Encounter; and venture
into a structural engineering triumph by pulling ‘stumps’ to make way for the Erie Canal.
Additionally, presenting science in the museum’s exhibition spaces presents opportunities for these students to build confidence, refine and develop understanding of foundational science concepts and to develop and apply important skills related to interpersonal communication. RMSC eagerly supports students in developing an innovation mindset and in strengthening their abilities to experiment with problems that have more than one solution, and to do so with confidence.”
Students in the project are registered as explorers in one of several STEM-based exploring posts operated by the Seneca Waterways Council to gain career knowledge through hands-on experience from career professionals.
Exploring posts are located at and sponsored by specific STEM-related businesses. Students take two field trips and are visited in the classroom by business professionals. The project exposes students to real world career experience with engineers, architects and advanced manufacturing employees.
“Providing hands-on career experiences to young people is what we do, and to be able to collaborate directly with great people at Rochester city schools and Rochester Museum and
Science Center brings an added value to the students participating in this program,” said Marcus Ragland, director of field services as Seneca Waterways Council. “These young people will have a tremendous opportunity to learn about real career opportunities in Rochester, in the classroom, in the field and through mentorships.”
RMSC offers a career ladder program, which may present a further opportunity for students after they complete the City Living course. The program encourages positive youth development and offers workplace experiences at RMSC to at-risk students enrolled at local high schools.
Students are registered in the exploring program for the remainder of 2017, providing them additional experiences with business and professionals.
Exploring has 90 posts and serves approximately 1,600 youth annually. Students will have the opportunity to join other STEM and non-STEM related posts.