STEM: Preparing youth for the workplace

  • Date: August 14, 2019
  • Author: Janell Hauck - Marketing Manger

What will jobs and the workforce look like in 20 years?  Many say we probably haven’t heard of the job titles that will be in demand in 2030 let alone 2040. The World Economic Forum predicts that 35% of the skills required for jobs today will change by 2030. And that 65% of children born today will pursue careers that don’t exist today. 

If you read articles about future careers you will find a lot of information about automation and artificial intelligence.  Remember the cartoon, The Jetsons?  The Jetsons lived in a comical version of a century in the future, with elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions. Housekeeping is seen to by a robot maid, Rosie, which handles chores not otherwise rendered trivial by the home's numerous push-button Space Age-envisioned conveniences.  George Jetson commuted to work in an aero car with a transparent bubble top.

With all the advancements we have made with technology, it makes you stop and think about how close we are to living like the Jetsons.  Driverless cars used to only be the sort of thing you’d see in sci-fi films. Autonomous car technology is here and being tested in prototypes by the likes of Lexus, BMW and Mercedes, and we have the Tesla’s driverless Autopilot system being tested on roads.

Besides delivering packages in the larger cities, drones are being used to save lives, environment works, archaeology, farming, property management, mining, construction and much more.

In our business, telecommunications are ever changing.  Telecommunication is an important tool for businesses. It enables companies to communicate effectively with customers and deliver high standards of customer service. Telecommunication is also a key element in teamwork, allowing employees to collaborate easily from wherever they are located. And just like George Jetson, broadband gives companies the opportunity to introduce more flexible working schedules by allowing employees to work efficiently from home or on the go with mobile devices.

Fifteen to 20 years ago, all these advancements seemed impossible but here we are today enjoying the advancements of modern technology.  All this came to be because of STEM.  STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  In the past 5 years, there has been a lot of talk about STEM and the need to help students learn more about STEM and how these four core educational sectors work together.  STEM is not new, it is simply a way of understanding and applying an integrated form of learning that resembles real life. Instead of teaching math as separate subject from science, they can be taught together in a way that shows how the knowledge from those two fields complement and support each other.

One way that DRN ReadiTech helps students learn about STEM and how these fields of study complement each other is by hosting an annual Tech Camp.  This year 19 students from our service territory gathered in Ellendale for a day of fun learning.  Students were able to assemble and disassemble a computer, build robots, use math skills to unlock a key to a locked box plus learned about artificial intelligence through computers.  The students also learned about some of the tools and machinery used by DRN ReadiTech technicians to splice fiber.

The goal of our Tech Camp is to introduce students to technology in hopes they will some day choose a career in telecommunications.  We are not sure what those careers may look like in 20 years, but we do know we will need employees with advanced skills in STEM.

 

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