The Press Newspaper
As part of National Engineering Week, Oak Harbor High School recently welcomed professionals to speak to students in an effort to help spread the word and create awareness about to the availability of jobs in the science and engineering industries.
National Engineering Week, an annual event that takes place during the third week of February, “celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to children and adults.”
More than anything, the event tries to raise awareness for students regarding jobs in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) fields and the training that’s needed to obtain them.
“From a student's standpoint, hearing about someone's job, it can get kids thinking about their futures,” OHHS Principal Keith Thorbahn said. “There may be a handful of students of who were not thinking about a career in those fields.
“It may have been the first time a lot of those students heard about this, and you can never provide too many opportunities for kids,” he said. “The students are currently scheduling for classes next year, and (this might) spur some conversations at home. That’s always a good thing."
Representatives from the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., and Bechtel Corporation, the nation's largest construction and engineering company, spoke to eighth- and ninth-graders about careers in the fields of science and engineering.
Steve Osteen, an engineering supervisor at Davis-Besse, and Lee Radnell, an engineer with Bechtel, told students their professions usually require, at the very least, an associate’s degree and often, a bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees. They added that STEM careers tend to pay well – well above the nation’s median income.
In fact, CareerCast.com’s annual Jobs Rated Report ranked software engineer and actuary – two careers in STEM fields – as the top two jobs in the U.S. in 2012.
Thorbahn touched upon the importance of area businesses coordinating with schools to help educate students and strengthen the bond between the two.
“Allowing local businesses to speak about their jobs, their careers is important,” he said. “It emphasizes the positives relationships that schools and businesses can have with each other.
“These discussions talked about the certifications, education levels, how many years it will take (to obtain them), if there's licensing involved,” Thorbahn continued. “That's something you can think about in high school. Some of those things I wasn’t sure that I knew. Some of the things they talked about, I'm positive the kids didn't know. It was a positive forum.”
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