STEM Goes To Work
BAMA structures its STEM impact practices to support STEM skilled workforce development STEM goes to Work program provides student/parent guided visits to a manufacturing facility. This activity brings students (and parents) into a manufacturing facility for a personalized tour and learning experience.
Tampa, FL – Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. (SMT) will announce tomorrow a new initiative sponsored by the Bay Area Manufacturing Association to give students an insider perspective on careers in manufacturing through site visits to manufacturing facilities. STEM Goes to Work” brings together both sides of the Bay by giving students in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties the opportunity to visit local manufacturing plants and meet with local business leaders. Speaking will be Larry R. Plank Ed.S. Director of K-12 STEM Education for Hillsborough Public Schools and Mark Sharp Hillsborough County Commissionaire.
The new initiative will support ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the critical role that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education plays in ensuring that the U.S. remains the economic and technological leader in today’s global marketplace. The program is designed to show students how STEM studies can lead to successful careers in manufacturing.
“STEM Goes to Work” events will take place each quarter with the first one scheduled for March 31, 2012. On that day in Hillsborough County, students from Greco School will tour Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. During “STEM Goes to Work” events, executive manufacturing leaders will be available to meet with students to highlight the benefits of pursuing one of the many available positions in the manufacturing field. Food and beverages will follow the information sessions.
“Unfortunately, U.S. manufacturing suffers from an image problem dating back to when some companies began moving production offshore to China in the 1990s,” said Roy Sweatman, president of Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. of Tampa, FL. “U.S. manufacturing was inaccurately portrayed as a ‘dying industry’ and an unattractive career choice. Nothing can be further than the truth. Manufacturing in the U.S. is alive and well and has enjoyed 29 straight months of growth.”
“STEM Goes to Work is designed to teach students that and there are tens of thousands of great, well paying manufacturing jobs right here in Florida,” said Sweatman.
Recent economic data shows that manufacturing is driving America’s economic recovery. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy gained 50,000 manufacturing jobs in January 2012. Over the past two years, the U.S. manufacturing sector has expanded by about 10 percent. Additionally, as costs rise in China, more manufacturing jobs are returning home.
In Florida, the fourth quarter of 2011 brought a year-over-year net gain of 8,500 factory jobs, with the state adding 5,600 manufacturing jobs in December 2011 alone. Further, factory jobs on average pay nearly $51,850 a year, approximately 25% more than average wages in the state, according to the Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation.
While the numbers of manufacturing jobs and wages are growing, manufacturers are experiencing great difficulty in finding qualified candidates to fill these positions. A recent Deloitte report based on a survey of manufacturers found that as many as 600,000 jobs are going unfilled.
“Programs like STEM Goes to Work can help close the skills gap,” said Janet Bryant, STEM Goes to Work Committee Chair, Director of Corporate Development for iDatix. Our hope is that this program will spark interest in manufacturing jobs and bring these career options into the minds of today’s students so this industry can continue to grow.”