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Launching Students into High-Tech Careers

First robotics competition at Energy Day provides pipeline to industry


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According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Education, graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations reported some of the highest median salaries around, roughly $61,000. Meanwhile, graduates employed in business support or administrative assistance occupations generally earned lower media salaries around $34,500 than graduates in other occupational categories, except social services professionals, whose media salaries were around $36,000.

A New American Economy Study reported that every STEM worker in Colorado had 15 job openings to choose from – and that 14 would-be employers were turned down, forced to look elsewhere, anywhere, for hard-to-find qualified candidates. Colorado's figure closely mirrored the national ratio of 13 to 1.

WHY INVESTING IN STEM MATTERS

Goldman Sachs, for instance, projected in 2016, that the energy sector would need to hire 80,000 to 100,000 workers by the end of this year to accommodate the uptick in U.S. land rigs. 

Add in other forms of energy and those figures grow. For instance: 

  • The number of solar jobs is expected to double in the next three years.
  • Wind energy is expected to support about 600,000 jobs by 2050.

Provided, of course, we have the workforce to do it.

That's where our schools come in.

Math and science are poised to assume greater significance as industries work to find employees with the chops to balance sustainability with keeping the lights on.

"Encouraging students by providing a space for them to see and experience the skills necessary to solve big-world problems in energy is the reason we put on one of the biggest STEM events in Denver," says Andrew Browning, chief operating officer of Consumer Energy Alliance, one of the hosts of this year's Energy Day event in Denver.

"We want kids to see how fun jobs in the energy sector are and help students get excited about jobs that could fill Colorado's workforce-ready pipeline with graduates who are well-versed in the sciences – setting them up for a successful career path. 

It all starts with bringing Colorado employers, educators and students together on one day to highlight real-world STEM solutions in the energy sector.”

Energy Day is the result.

Denver’s largest annual free family STEM festival is Saturday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Denver’s East High School.  The festival will feature exciting exhibits and interactions with energy experts designed to spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math preparing them for a future in STEM. 

Attendees will have a front-row seat to the 12 student teams from across the state who will be competing in the First Robotics Competition where they will showcase their STEM skills and have the opportunity to receive college scholarships for their involvement in the program.  The East High School Team “AngelBotics” will prominently feature their Robot “The DeLorean” along with other top high school STEM programs across Colorado.

Energy Day alone won’t solve our STEM education and workforce needs, but it’s a start.

Come out and celebrate this great day of energy education with CEA. For more information, visit EnergyDayFestival.org.

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