School & District Management Opinion

Preparing Students for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Jobs

By John Wilson — November 16, 2012 2 min read
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We hear a lot about the high unemployment rate in the United States today and how difficult it is for college graduates to get a job. I am sure this is all true, but there are some other facts that are not getting our attention. These could be very useful to us in helping guide our students.

Did you know that the unemployment rate for computer-related jobs is only a little over 3 per cent? Did you know there are millions of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs available right now for qualified candidates? Did you know that we used up all high-skilled, yearly visas for STEM jobs in just 10 weeks?

I recently sat down with Chief Executive Officer Linda Rosen and Chief Operating Officer Claus von Zastrow of Change the Equation (CTEq). This coalition of over 100 companies strives to improve STEM learning by focusing on strategic philanthropy, endless inspiration, and effective advocacy. If you visit their website, you will learn about their “Vital Signs” report on the condition of STEM learning in every state as well as other initiatives like the “STEM is Cool” campaign and “STEMtistic.”

Next Tuesday, they are launching the “iON Future” online learning games in a 35 minute webcast. Details are below. Please encourage teachers to set aside this time for their students to participate. We have a responsibility to inform our students about career possibilities for them, and we have to look to the next generation of jobs being in an innovation economy.

On November 20th @ 10 AM PST and 1 PM EST, Change the Equation is hosting a webcast to launch iON Future, a suite of free online learning games to introduce youth, middle to early high school age, to a variety of STEM-based professions. This link takes you to the beta version of the games which is available through November 19th to allow for testing, working through technical glitches, and adding and finessing final elements of the game before the formal launch on November 20th. It may take a minute to load, as the site is still under construction.

To explore the beta version:
· Please choose the option to play as a guest.

· During this beta period, Career Quest, one of the games, will have one profession to explore, but at launch more careers will be featured. [A by-product of Hurricane Sandy as the loss of power closed our NY-based game developer for several days.]

· The beta version of the learning guide that educators, facilitators, and families can use to accompany iON Future in classroom use can be accessed here.

CTEq is looking for teacher ambassadors who would like to participate, with their students, in the webcast event on 11/20/12 @ 10 AM PT, broadcasting from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. The 35-minute show will take students on virtual tours of STEM in action, and could be just the right touch to get kids engaged for any educators looking for a different way to capture their students’ attention in this time leading up to Thanksgiving.
· This one-pager details what we hope is a high-energy event.
· Interested teachers can tune in here Nov. 20 at 1pm ET/10am PT.
The webcast will be available on Change the Equation’s website after the Thanksgiving holiday for anyone who wants to use it to set the stage for thinking about careers in STEM.

Educators, adult youth leaders, and parents may prefer just to use the learning guide to introduce iON Future to young people any time after November 20th.

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The opinions expressed in John Wilson Unleashed are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.