As leaders in education continue to point to the importance of STEM education in preparing students for future careers, a local report released last week by the Colorado Education Initiative confirmed the need to develop that priority right here in Colorado. The issue to consider is whether national trends on STEM-related job demand are true for Coloradans. According to the report’s findings: “Colorado is expected to see above national average growth in STEM occupations over the next decade as well as a rapid increase in the demand for STEM talent across non-STEM professions. However, Colorado’s students are not adequately prepared to compete for these jobs.”
Perhaps even more critical, Colorado’s ability to meet that demand will be closely linked to the state’s future economic health. The report noted that, “Lack of a statewide vision and strategy for STEM education is impeding Colorado’s ability to develop a strong local talent pipeline needed for an innovation economy.” Technology skills remain a critical part of constructing this pipeline. But the reality remains that many of Colorado’s highest needs K-12 students don’t have access to quality technology instruction. Bridging that gap is part of KidsTek’s core mission. While we applaud the growing public recognition of the importance of STEM education, we know that there’s still a long way to go!
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more findings from our data evaluation of last school year’s programs. Our preliminary reports confirm that KidsTek students demonstrated an increased proficiency in the software they used in both our in-school electives and our after school programs. We’re most encouraged when we see that knowledge being applied in the emerging workforce opportunities. That was the case for one of our North High School students who recently shared how he’s making that connection: “I was able to use tons of stuff from the KidsTek class at my summer internship- I showed the owner how to do a [Microsoft Word] mail merge and he was so stoked!” STEM talent is truly evident in Colorado’s KidsTek students!
Full coverage of the Colorado STEM Education Roadmap is available on Chalkbeat Colorado
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