Businesses Stress STEM Education

Posted at: 11/14/2012 6:44 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- More than two thousand students packed into the UCR Regional Sports Center Wednesday to talk STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math. But teaching STEM doesn't just benefit the students the stem initiatives also helps the workforce.

Whether it was working a prosthetic hand, or performing a mock lifesaving operation, students got some hands on experience at this year’s STEM Summit.

"I really like to build stuff," said Ben Gifford.

A 6th grader, Gifford, was just one of the students that was given a new perspective on STEM.

"I thought it was really cool that all these companies came and show these kids what they really do," said Gifford.

More than 60 business and organizations were there to talk with students about their careers.

"This is a great event we have a about 2,300 students coming from as far as 70 miles," said organizer Jessi Strinmoen.

The Rochester Chamber of Commerce that hosts the event, says it's about creating an educated work force.

"It's about thinking about more opportunities," said Strinmoen.

Organizers are hoping some of the activities like virtual welding will spark an interest in a STEM career.

“Today we struggle with finding skilled workers that can weld and design," said Crenlo engineer Brett Carlson.

He says learning those skills needs to start early.

"It's important for them to know the laws of physics, dynamics, and everything associated with science."

Crenlo isn't the only business in need of skilled workers.

"All these products here have been booming with new developments and technology," said Trevor Klaassen.

Klaassen works Prosthetics of Rochester  where they rely on new creative minds to improve lives.

"I'm hoping they come away with brand new ideas, like trendy new things can be invented to help companies and patients out there," said Klaassen.

Ben Gifford says he definitely wants to STEM to be a part of his career.

"It's really shown me that you can really do stuff with science."

This was the 6th year of the STEM Summit. The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce plans to hold one again next year.