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Welding Is Now a STEM Job

We need a new “Race to the Top” that will hugely incentivize businesses to embed workers in universities to teach — and universities to embed professors inside businesses to learn — so we get a much better match between schooling and the job markets.

“The world no longer cares about what you know; the world only cares about what you can do with what you know,” explains Tony Wagner of Harvard, the author of “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.”

Eduardo Padrón, the president of Miami Dade College, the acclaimed pioneer in education-for-work, put it this way: “The skill shortage is real. Years ago, we started working with over 100 companies to meet their needs. Every program that we offer has an industry advisory committee that helps us with curriculum, mentorship, internships and scholarships. … Spanish-speaking immigrants used to be able to come here and get a decent job doing repetitive tasks in an office or factory and earn enough to buy a home and car and put their kids through school and enjoy middle-class status. That is no longer possible. … The big issue in America is not the fiscal deficit, but the deficit in understanding about education and the role it plays in the knowledge economy.”

Welding “is a $20-an-hour job with health care, paid vacations and full benefits,” said Tapani, but “you have to have science and math. I can’t think of any job in my sheet metal fabrication company where math is not important. If you work in a manufacturing facility, you use math every day; you need to compute angles and understand what happens to a piece of metal when it’s bent to a certain angle.”

Who knew? Welding is now a STEM job — that is, a job that requires knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math.

Employers across America will tell you similar stories. It’s one reason we have three million open jobs around the country but 8 percent unemployment. We’re in the midst of a perfect storm: a Great Recession that has caused a sharp increase in unemployment and a Great Inflection — a merger of the information technology revolution and globalization that is simultaneously wiping out many decent-wage, middle-skilled jobs, which were the foundation of our middle class, and replacing them with decent-wage, high-skilled jobs. Every decent-paying job today takes more skill and more education, but too many Americans aren’t ready. This problem awaits us after the “fiscal cliff.”

Thomas Friedman NYT

Elementary School Students Response to Aquaponics Classroom

Grade 3:

The students were very interested in how the fish behaved underwater and they asked questions like “how does the fish know which way to swim?” and “How do the plants know how high to grow?”. They understood about 75% of the presentation occasionally asking about some terminology like “bacteria, filtration, purification, and pellets”. Other than that they were really engaged and enjoyed watching Youtube videos and drawing on a sheet of paper what a mini aquaponics system would look like. I collected the drawings, gave them feedback as to any missing parts.

Grade 5:

The students understood about 90% of the presentation. I was able to take little pebbles used to filtrate, as well as a small goldfish, and a small plant (basil) and showed them the different properties of each organism and how they contribute as a whole to the mini ecosystem created in an aquaponics system. The also made drawings of what an aquaponics system should look like and what each part did.

Middle School Students

Grade 6:

Students had the same level of understanding as 5th graders and they didn’t appear to grasp individual concepts very well. I spoke with the teacher and he told me that that particular group was not at the intended grade level so I had to show them the power point I had showed the elementary school kids and they understood that better. I made the kids form small groups and have a discussion about how
aquaponics benefits the environment, then I made them make drawings of what an aquaponics system should look like and what each part did.

Grade 8:

Students understood 100% of the presentation and even brought technology into the conversation! The students were thinking about designing mechanical motors that could power the pump instead of plugging the chord into an outlet. These students were very hands on but required a little bit of help visualizing the bigger picture. Their teacher suggested they have a better background in the biology concept present in order for them to think about making “changes” to the current system.

Jessica Jimenez Rico
Molecular Biology & Spanish Language and Culture Double Major
Alverno College

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on November 19, 2012

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