STEM education is becoming more and more important for young students in this electronic age, and let’s hope the trend continues. We want the next generation of leaders in the workforce to step up to the challenges this new economy will bring, and a quality STEM education is the way to start that process.
A great example to show just how necessary a STEM education is for students nationwide is the 2015 VEX Robotics World Championship, a new worldwide robotics championship event that promises to bring STEM to life.
The annual four-day competition will bring together more than 800 teams and 15,000 students from the U.S. and more than two dozen countries to put their robotic skills to the test. According to Education World, “Students will bring their strategically built robots — representing nearly a year of designing and fine-tuning — to compete for the world title.”
Vince Bertram of the Courier-Journal insists that there is more than just the championship at stake. He compares the championship with the real world global competition that U.S. students’ face in STEM related fields. STEM geared jobs are among the top jobs of the future, and schools are looking to build concentrations in those fields. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [is reporting that] nationwide employment in STEM fields is expected to grow to more than 9 million jobs by 2022,” says Bertram.
There’s been a big push for more technology in classrooms nationwide. But with that new technology comes the challenge of properly teaching students how to use it, followed by applying that information into real world situations. “Competitions like the VEX Robotics World Championship,” argues Bertram, “are not only fun, but give students an opportunity to apply what they’re learning in school to real-world situations in a competitive yet encouraging atmosphere.”
But more importantly, says Bertram, these competitions “illustrate that progress is being made in an important nationwide effort to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow.” The skills gap is certainly a big worry for economists everywhere, but luckily, if we continue building up students’ interests in STEM, we can certainly bridge that gap in the future.
Bertram’s assertions are indicative of just how important careers in STEM can be for the future of the U.S. workforce. And while the VEX Robotics Championship is an international competition, it is just one of many platforms for students to put their STEM skills to the test. By continuing to build interest in science, technology, engineering and math in young students and rewarding that interest in a competitive environment, it is not hard to believe that new leaders will step forward to lead this New Age economy.
photo credit: VRC Team ERC 404D, from El Camino Real HS in Woodland Hills, California via photopin (license)