Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Resource List for Career Exploration

Friday, January 13th, 2012

How do you get high school students interested in a career in science? It all starts with exposure and image. Traditionally, high school is a time when realistic considerations of one’s future first come into play and related choices are made. Developmentally, the cognitive skills of these students are at an intersection where their current abilities, their sense of achievement and their thoughts about their future all come together. If they do not feel immediately successful at a task, they will often quit or move on to something else. Students at this level are busy establishing their identities, integrating the likes and dislikes of others, and weighing the relevance of outside influences. Ultimately, when they emerge from adolescence, they will be asked to make choices for their futures (e.g., choose a college and declare a major or enter the workforce). It is for this reason that it is so important to provide them with as much information about different job opportunities and exposure to careers in the STEM fields as possible. ATETV is one resource for this. Others include:

Career Cornerstone
The Sloan Career Cornerstone website provides some career information, profiles, video clips and advice on educational pathways to specific STEM Careers.

Careers in Welding
An American Welding Society and National Center for Welding Education & Training (Weld-Ed) web portal that profiles careers, offers fun facts and other information about welding, profiles companies and showcases videos.

Discover Engineering
From the site:”Engineering is not science. Engineers generally don’t “do” science. Science is about discovering the natural. Engineering is creating the artificial.” Tune in to the Discover Engineering Web site to learn what engineering is, read about various careers, try cool engineering activities and watch informational videos.

Dream It. Do It.
Dream It. Do It. is a nationwide effort supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, employers within the manufacturing economy and other groups around the country. Their Web-site offers a career toolkit and videos related to high-tech manufacturing jobs.

Engineer Girl
Aimed primarily at middle school girls, the Engineer Girl Web-site has profiles of women in engineering, discusses what classes should be taken in high school and explores engineering careers for women.

Engineer Your Life
The sister site to Engineer Girl, this site is a guide to engineering specifically geared to high school girls. This site is a place where they can go to read about their dream jobs and meet inspiring women.

Engineering K12 Center (American Society for Engineering Education)
eGFI is proudly brought to you by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). This group is committed to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education. On their site you can find out how to become an engineer, read through college information, and check out spotlights of people working in the field.

Gotta Have IT (National Center for Women & Information Technology)
NCWIT has multiple outreach campaigns and career information including Gotta Have IT is an all-in-one computing resource kit designed with educators’ needs in mind. A select set of high-quality posters, computing and IT careers information, digital media and more, the resource kit builds awareness and inspires interest in computing. Gotta Have IT is for all students, but is especially inclusive for girls.

I-SEEK Careers: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
I-SEEK is Minnesota’s career, education and job resource. Here you will find multiple ways to assess your skills and explore related careers, all the relevant information you will need on planning your education and tips on how to find a job.

Internet Science and Technology Fair
From October through February of each year, student teams apply technology to real-world problems when they participate in the ISTF. They form teams and complete online investigations in science, engineering, and other technical fields. Each team then gets the opportunity to work with a practicing scientist or engineer who acts as the team’s on-line technical advisor. The ultimate goal is that through this experience, the students will become more interested in science careers and understand the innovation process.

An interactive career exploration web site for middle and high school students sponsored by the National Institutes of Health with information on more than 100 medical science and health careers by title, education required, interest area, or median salary. Alternatively, the “Career Finder” can be used to generate a customized list of careers especially suited for users’ skills and interests.

STEM Career
A brokering site that supports STEM advocates by providing information on STEM initiatives, student access, and career readiness.

STEM Career Depot

State-of-the-art career assessment and planning resources for everyone

Texas Instrument Student Zone
Texas Instrument offers STEM career resources for students to explore, STEM degrees, careers, courses, and projects.

The Fun Works
This project is a compilation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career development information for middle school and early high school youth. The goal is to create a comprehensive career development resource that is inviting and engaging the diverse populations of middle and early high school students, that builds on their diverse interests, and draws them into a range of career exploration options and resources.

Virtual Skies
Produced by NASA for use in high schools and flight technology programs, Virtual Skies explores the worlds of aviation technology, air traffic management, and current research.

Vocational Information Center- Manufacturing Career Guide

Explore careers in Manufacturing with the following links to job descriptions, which include information such as daily activities, skill requirements, salary and training required. To learn more about the Manufacturing Industry, follow the related links below the career descriptions section.

Women Tech World
“A national on-line home for women technicians to connect with each other.” For those interested, this site offers information about various technical careers, profiles of current professionals and FAQs for females interested in pursuing STEM careers.

You Can Be Anything
A video and lesson plan using the power of media to give young people, particularly girls and young women, a very positive impression of the career opportunities available in information technology (IT) and science-related fields where technology plays a major role.

The Definition of a Catalyst

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

ATE: A Catalyst for Success

In the field of chemistry, a “catalyst” is a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction. Taking that definition out of the laboratory, a “catalyst” is defined as “a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.”

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program fits the description.

ATE was developed in 1994 to help prepare technicians for employment in the numerous high technology workplaces that are vital to our nation’s economy. There are now more than 39 ATE centers around the country focused on several broad technological areas including Advanced Manufacturing, Agricultural, Energy & Environmental Technologies, Biotechnology & Chemical Processes, Electronics, Micro- & Nanotechnologies, Engineering Technologies, and Information, Geospatial, & Security Technologies.


*During 2009, ATE centers and projects had 6,900 collaborations with industry, business, public agencies, and educational enterprises.

*In that same time period, 85,300 students took at least one ATE-supported course, while another 58,100 participated in an ATE professional development program.

As Dan Welch, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards notes of ATE’s catalytic role, “Our training partnership with the [ATE] program is on target to grow by 30% each year over the next 3 years, yet we anticipate a need for a 40% increase in our workforce. The SMART [Southeast Maritime and Transportation Center] is poised to do just that – help us grow our maritime workforce.”

And, Brandon Dixon, who graduated from information assurance programs at 2 CyberWatch member institutions, earning an associate degree from the Community College of Baltimore County and a bachelor’s degree from Capitol College is a great example of how ATE can lead to change: Brandon is now employed as an information systems security engineer at G2, Inc., in Columbia, MD, where he works on virtualization, vulnerability, and exploits.

Check out the new ATE publication, “Partners with Industry for a New American Workforce,” to learn more –you’ll soon find out why ATE has been called a “catalyst for student success and economic development.”

Coming up SOON on ATETV!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

film strip

A Sneak Preview

Last year’s White House Summit launched an important discussion of the many key roles that community colleges play in workforce development and in student success, particularly in the technology fields.

Now, this year, the conversation continues, with the U.S. Department of Education holding a series of four regional community college summits at cities around the country, which will culminate in a Community College Virtual Symposium the week of April 25th.

With that in mind, we thought we’d take this opportunity to join in on the conversation with a “sneak preview” of some of the subjects that ATETV will be covering in upcoming episodes later this spring. The 40 new programs will blend solid “how-to” information and classroom profiles with visits to some of the nation’s most prominent technology companies to help students get the most out of the community-college experience and provide employers and educators with important resources.

For example, the “101 Series” will provide viewers with a crash-course in the community college experience. Beginning with in-depth examinations of course curriculum and academic requirements in a variety of community college programs, and ending with up-close examinations of the career paths that these programs can lead to, these ATETV segments will include first-person interviews with employed technicians to learn how they landed their positions.

A second focus of upcoming ATETV programs will be the four-part “From High School to College” series created to help students explore higher-education opportunities while they are still in high school, and provide them with an important head-start to their future career paths. Specific subjects will focus on dual-enrollment programs, and the value of informational interviews.

Other segments will take viewers behind-the-scenes of leading technology employers, offer students career-building “tech tips,” and visit community-college classrooms around the country, providing students with “previews” of course content – before they enroll.

Stay tuned, there’s a lot more to talk about!

Help Wanted: Women Engineers

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Last year, an article in the business magazine Forbes, highlighted “The Best-Paying Jobs That Women Aren’t In”. The magazine used a 2008 Department of Labor list of “nontraditional” jobs for women, coupled with 2008 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on earnings by occupation to calculate 20 occupations that women might want to reconsider.

Number Two on the list — just behind chief executive positions — were engineering jobs. According to Forbes’ calculations, females make up only about 12 percent of all engineers and engineering technicians, yet it’s one of the best-paying and fastest-growing fields today.

Why so few women engineers? It may be that engineering has often been perceived as an “introverted” field with its heavy focus on math and science and solitary work environment. But, as Forbes reports, colleges and industry have more recently begun promoting engineering as a job that can be both creative and collaborative, career considerations that are more likely to appeal to females.

Both Elaine Craft and Tressa Gardner of the SC ATE Center at Florence Darlington Technical College agree that the field of engineering needs more women. “We don’t have nearly as many women [enrolled in engineering classes] as we’d like,” Tressa told ATETV. And, as Elaine noted, “We need to make [engineering] careers more attractive to women. Females can be successful in ways they never realized.”

We did a little digging and came up with two websites that provide a lot of resources and background about engineering careers, including one that’s specially geared to women in science and technology fields. As both sites describe in plenty of detail, engineering offers women a wide variety of job opportunities — and it’s anything but dull!

The first site, TryEngineering, even has as its tagline, “Discover the creative engineer in you.” Here, you’ll learn, for example, how engineers develop sustainable energy solutions and design the electronic devices that enhance the quality of our everyday lives. You’ll find find job descriptions, educational opportunities, lesson plans and exercises that help illustrate and illuminate specific jobs and the day-to-day experiences of engineers. For example, the section “Explore Engineering,” introduces web users to both practicing engineers and engineering students who describe, in their own words, what it’s like to be in the field of engineering. The site breaks out career paths by majors (for both Engineering and Engineering Technology) covering a total of 25 major specialities including chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Try Engineering provides preparation tips and advice on what classes to take, describes the work life of an engineer, and, through its Game section, lets you build a bridge or a lifeboat, learn about simple and compound machines, or choose the pipeline strategy best suited for various sections of the Alaska terrain.

The second site we found, Under the Microscope is geared to women who are in or are considering jobs in science and technology, including engineering. A profile section (Under the Lens), introduces readers to real women, such as Megan Chann, who describes in detail her summer internship as an engineer at the Alcoa-Howment manufacturing plant, where parts are made for jet engines. Under the Microscope also offers a long list of resources (Top Summer STEM Internships for 2011; Top websites to explore; Careers in Science; Scholarship Opportunities; even Smart Phone apps!) One of the lists that looked particularly valuable was the Top 10 Mentoring Resources for Women in Science and Engineering.

Who knows, maybe the next time around, engineering will be in Forbes business magazines’ lists of the Top 10 Best-Paying Jobs that Women ARE In!

Secrets to Getting a Great Job and Building a Financially Rewarding Career

Friday, December 10th, 2010

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you NOTHING. It was here first.” ~Mark Twain

Why would someone hire you?

    Understanding the real world of work: 3 secrets to your success

The first secret to getting a great job and building a financially rewarding career is to understand that you need to be contributing to “the bottom line” (success/profit) every day. Unless your employer is better off with you than before you were hired, you probably are not needed. If what you are doing does not require you to think, analyze, make decisions, collaborate with co-workers and/or customers and make things happen, it is possible that a robot can do the job. Here is the pertinent question: what have I done today to contribute to the success of the organization and make it more profitable? Your personal success and financial gain can only be realized if your employer gets there first.

The next secret is to equip yourself with the right skills and knowledge. Enroll in a college program for which graduates are in demand. Engineering Technology programs produce graduates that are always in demand. Engineering technicians are essential for much of the work that must be done right here in the USA from power generation to building roads, bridges or buildings to manufacturing. Get really good at understanding how systems work, with hands-on technology, and with trouble-shooting and problem solving. You will be in demand.

Did you know that 80% of people who fail on the job fail due to lack of interpersonal skills— not lack of technical skills? It should not be a surprise that the last secret is to exhibit attitude-related behaviors that employers expect and reward:
• Take responsibility for yourself
• Contribute to others’ success
• Put customers first
• Be a “team player”
• Volunteer and show some initiative
• Follow the rules
• Work the hours you’re paid for
• Exceed expectations
• Keep your commitments
• Get with change
• Be considerate of tohers
• Don’t “Whine” or spread negativity
• Give, and earn, respect
• Embrace diversity
• Keep learning
• Ask for feedback
• Be patient
• Be appreciative
• Think “safety”
• Think “health” Look your best Keep the boss informed
• Act like an “owner”
• Focus on the big 2: increase revenue, decrease costs
• Perform with ethics and integrity

    Getting there from here

Starting in high school is perfect. Sign up for classes that expand your experiences and thinking beyond the core required subjects. Take advantage of dual credit when you can so that you earn college credit while still in high school. Be strategic in choosing your electives. Try anything available that involves hands-on technology or applied science. See what you like and what you seem to be good at doing. Math, science, technology, and engineering (STEM)-based careers have the greatest demand for workers and pay the best. STEM-based career choices are growing daily, moving into new and emerging technology fields that did not exist just a few years ago. You can be on the cutting edge for the future just by choosing to make STEM your focus. Meanwhile, don’t blow off your core subjects. You need strong foundation in basic math, science, and English. Your future success depends on giving these subjects your best effort. You don’t have to love them, but you do need to achieve the highest level of mastery possible. Doing so will pay off time and again in your future. You don’t want to have to study these core subjects at the same level again in the future, so get it right and soak it in the first time!

Choose an engineering technology or related program at your local technical or community college. Investigate options that may be new to you such as robotics. Look for a program that provides internship, co-op (cooperative education), or apprentice opportunities while you are in college. Having an opportunity to work for a local employer while you are in college is the single best way to land a job upon graduation. Paid internships are ideal because you can earn while you learn, but any on-the-job experience will give you a competitive advantage when you look for a job after graduation. In an internship, you will get to know the employer and work environment and the employer will be able to assess your attributes and see how well you fit into the organization. Also, you may discover what you really don’t want to do the rest of your life. It is better to find out sooner than later.

Work at developing the broadest skill set possible. Consider a double major (mechanical engineering technology and robotics, civil engineering technology and engineering graphics). Choose your electives to enable you to acquire special knowledge and skills. Your unique combination of knowledge and skills may give you the competitive edge when interviewing for jobs.

Observe those who currently work at the company when you are seeking employment (park nearby and watch people coming to work or leaving work). Then, go home and look in the mirror. If your appearance and dress are dramatically different than those you’ve observed, you may need to consider what this means for you. As the old saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It is human nature to be suspicious or to misunderstand those how appear radically different. Specific dress, hair, etc. codes may be required at a company for safety or other reasons. Can you adapt? Is it more important to get a job than to make a statement?

If you provide a telephone number so that a potential employer can reach you, make sure that your voice message is appropriate for the business world. What may seem to be fun or cute to your friends may be totally inappropriate for handling business calls. Failure to demonstrate that you grasp the basics of the business world and associated etiquette will de-rail you on the path to success.

Agricultural Geospatial Technology

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

FarmerWhat is Geospatial Data?

In this week’s Episode of ATETV, we were re-introduced to Dan Miller, a student at Kirkwood Community College, studying Precision Agriculture and Agricultural Geospatial Technology.

According to the Kirkwood website, “Agricultural Geospatial Technology students prepare to work in the emerging geospatial technology industry…The two-year program includes courses in computers, GPS, ArcView and data collection, in addition to agronomy and agriculture economics.”

As part of this program, Dan is taking a class called Geospatial Data Collection, which introduces students to GPS and spatial data, and the many applications these technologies have in the field of agriculture.

GPS or Global Positioning Systems are an integral part of today’s farming industry. The technologies, which pinpoint locations via satellite-based remote sensors to within a meter of any given location, help farmers adjust for the fact that any area of land can contain wide variations in soil types, nutrient availability, erosion and soil moisture..

And as Dan and other Kirkwood students are learning through their own “real-world” projects, there are ample ways to apply these geospatial data collection processes. Here are some of their projects, described in students’ own words:

Produce Relocation. “Our family operates a vegetable farm for which we provide produce for many local grocery stores [as well as] for Wal-Mart. In the past, record-keeping has been through paper hand-drawn maps. But this paper method makes it difficult to manage fertilizer, yield and pest-control systems. [My project] will determine where the best place to plant is to plant our vegetables next year…through soil sampling, making boundaries and recording past plantings.”

Addressing the Iowa Flood. “I’m going to plot out corn crops in areas that were affected by the recent floods in Iowa. I hope to document the area lost to the flood and identify problems with areas that remain as crop ground.”

Creating a Map of Iowa Lake. “I am going to be working with the staff of Iowa Lake [to create] a detailed map for use by fishermen. I will walk around the lake and get a boundary layer and will use my boat to map and identify structures with the lake. I also will be laying a grid over the lake of 10-yard by 10-yard squares and taking the depth of the water.”

Dan Miller told ATETV that he’d like to take his GPS experience back to his own family’s farm. But as he also notes, his Geospatial Data Collection class has opened his eyes to other job options as well – for example, positions in the fields of construction or natural resources, or other positions in the agricultural industry.

To learn more about precision farming and GPS applications, check out this backgrounder from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ATE Central – A Wealth of Information

Friday, October 1st, 2010

This week, ATETV adviser Nouna Bakhiet from Southwestern College in San Diego, described an ATE Program that’s helping to launch students into the Biotechnology field — which is booming in Southern California as well as many other areas of the country. Here’s what she says:

San Diego is a national hub for Biotechnology. Southwestern College started a Biotechnology technician training program in 1999 to serve the minority population of the San Diego South Bay. The program attracted participants seeking jobs as well as transfer students. The students complete a set of rigorous lecture and lab courses to prepare for real-life research internships.

In 2004, the ATE-sponsored BETSI (Biotechnology Education and Training Sequence Investment Project) was launched to bring cutting-edge Biotechnology practices to Sweetwater Union High School District and to train Southwestern College student in the fundamentals of Biotechnology. The BETSI model helps get pre-college students excited about the field and helps position community college students for successful careers as Biotechnology technicians and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors. From high school to community college to the workplace, BETSI is an education and training cascade bringing students from books to the benches of research.

Believe it or not, BETSI is just one of 349 ATE projects and centers at community colleges around the country. Covering a wide swath of subjects and specialties alphabetically ranging from A(AgrowKnowledge: The National Center for Agriscience & Technology Education) to W (Water and Wastewater Technician Training Institute at Bowling Green Community College), the ATE programs are designed to support and inspire educators, students and the general public as they explore the depth and breadth of the Advanced Technological Education Program.

You can find descriptions and links to all of these programs, encompassing nearly 3,000 courses, modules, and activities on ATE Central the ATE’s online portal and one-stop shopping resource. ATE Central’s digital library can help direct users to ATE’s full range of easy-to-use online resources, which include curricula, learning objects and podcasts. The portal also serves as a central communication and support point for all of the many individuals involved in ATE centers and projects and through the site’s collaborative tools and reference materials, enable educators to implement successful projects and mentor new projects.

Take a look, but leave yourself plenty of time — from Nanotechnology to Viticulture and Enology Science (wine making) to Terrorist Agent Control Technology and everything in between, there’s a wealth of information and ideas about Advanced Technological Education programs to keep you engrossed for a very long time!

The ATE Difference: Dedicated Teachers with First-Hand Experience

Monday, October 5th, 2009

A main goal of Advanced Technological Education is to give students technical skills that will greatly improve their quality of life. In Episode 3, we meet a dedicated teacher who is doing just that.

Jerry Duncan worked as a chemical engineer for 27 years before turning to teaching. He’s now the head of the Process Technology department at the College of Mainland. He’s also a former head of the Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT) and an ATETV advisor.

We followed up with Jerry this week to ask him a couple more questions about the impact of Advanced Technological Education on his students’ lives.

ATETV: What is a memorable success story from a student of yours?

Jerry Duncan: There are many success stories. One of the more interesting ones is a guy named Austin. He took dual-credit courses toward Process Technology in high school and finished up his degree at the College of the Mainland. He received a paid internship at a local refinery, and one month after he completed his internship and graduated he was offered a full-time job.

Austin just turned 20. He is making $80,000 a year. He comes back to the college every semester and speaks to the public about his experiences, to help us recruit new students.

ATETV: Wow, that is inspiring. Why is the demand so high for students with ATE degrees, and more specifically degrees in Process Technology?

JD: Demand is high because the average age of process technicians in the industry is about 50. Many people are starting to retire, and unfortunately many of today’s students will not consider working in a refinery or chemical plant. These workplaces are perceived to be dirty and labor-intensive.

Nothing could be further from the truth. These plants have retooled themselves into high-tech industries. The employees have to be able to understand how these complex factories work.

A survey that we did at CAPT estimated that over 50,000 process technology jobs will become available in the next 5 years. There are 55 colleges that offer Process Technology degrees. They graduate about 1,200 students per year, so you can see there is a large gap to overcome.

ATETV: What does your average student look like? How does a degree in process technology change their lifestyle and starting salary?

JD: Our average student is 27 years old (they range from 18 to 50). Generally speaking most of our students are working at jobs which pay $10-12 an hour. Once they graduate, the major refineries and chemical companies start them out at $30 an hour. Tripling your salary certainly makes a difference in their lifestyle. Additionally, all major companies offer life and dental insurance, a 401K, etc.

The Process Technology program gives the students a baseline which allows the companies to quickly integrate them into their organization. They are taught math, physics, chemistry and technical courses which deal with the types of equipment that they will encounter in industry. They are also taught critical thinking skills and basic troubleshooting techniques.

Also this week, we look at two stories of women entering the field of biotechnology. First, we meet a young woman training to be a biomedical technician at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston. Then we head to Southwestern College in San Diego, where the students in the biotechnology program are primarily female.

These two programs show that Advanced Technological Education isn’t just about enriching individual students’ careers; it’s also about expanding opportunity and increasing diversity in science and technology.