31 Jul Building Skills for the Future

There’s no question that STEM is a hot button topic in the education industry. And why not? With over 2 million STEM jobs going unfilled in 2018, the opportunities for students with an interest and skillset in the STEM sectors are virtually endless. And those STEM jobs? They’re not going anywhere. STEM job growth is projected to increase 13% by 2027.

So, why does that matter to the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC)? It matters because we make it our mission to help kids who end up here plan for and achieve a successful future. To that end, we don’t just provide the necessary basic education requirements. We go beyond typical schooling to provide additional opportunities most of these students would never have, even in school within their home communities.

As a testament to the YOC’s unending commitment to educational excellence, each summer residents participate in Summer Enrichment which consists of a series of classes aimed at everything from credit recovery to sustaining and supplementing traditional school-year learning with additional opportunities.

This summer, one such opportunity came in the form of a Lego Robotics class. Entirely funded by donors, nearly 60 residents participated in the summer enrichment class presented by STEMGenuity. Over the course of six weeks, residents enjoyed building everything from race cars and honeybees to robotic arms and dancing parrots!

Through these building experiences, the kids were able to grow their mechanical skills, gain a basic understanding of how gear systems work and even learn how to manipulate computer code to improve their designs.

“Not only did the kids gain valuable knowledge,” said Tim Irvin, YOC Educational Assistant, “but we saw also their confidence go up as they completed harder and harder tasks.”

Irvin went on to share how much the kids enjoyed the classes. “Most of our residents loved it” he said. “More than a handful said it was their favorite class. Some even want to pursue careers involving building or STEM.”

Classes like this Lego Robotics class set YOC residents up for a successful future, especially as evolving technologies force them to be able to build, design, code or perform maintenance on robotic or STEM-based technology. And with the increasing demand for a STEM-trained workforce, classes and skills like these are a perfect way to open doors for YOC residents in their future.

The fact remains, without these opportunities provided by the YOC, most of these kids would never have the opportunity to participate in a program like this. Many would never have the chance to find their passion and talent when it comes to STEM. That’s why it’s so important that the YOC continue to provide ancillary educational opportunities like this Lego Robotics class.

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