Colorado Launches Collaboration for STEM Career Development
Seeking to position Colorado as a leader in education to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), three institutions of higher learning and a renowned public school district have collaborated to form the Colorado Academy for the Development of STEM-related Careers (Colorado ADSC).
The ADSC coalition includes Metropolitan State College of Denver, Colorado School of Mines, Community College of Denver, and the Cherry Creek School District in Denver. Together the four institutions have set forth a goal of promoting STEM education and career preparation by engaging K-12 students, hands on, in cutting-edge technology. In raising awareness and interest, the ADSC said it hopes students will become increasingly eager to learn about and participate in technological progress, both in school and throughout their lives.
Employers in the state and members of Colorado state government all the way up to Governor Bill Ritter have expressed urgent interest in promoting student aspirations to STEM careers, said Colorado ADSC founders Jeff Forrest and Burke Fort.
"Colorado ADSC is about bridge-building," explained Forrest, chair of the aviation and aerospace science department at Metro State. "It is about cooperative education, from kindergarten to PhDs, that delivers the knowledge and leadership skills needed to mold scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs--today and in the future--who are open to collaboration and grounded in science but also inspired by invention and originality."
The initial focus of the academy will be on aerospace, including education, mentoring, career guidance, internships, and scholarships. The ADSC will specifically provide training leading to official certifications, which in turn may then be applied toward career enhancement in aerospace jobs. The academy will also work with Colorado Workforce Centers, a division of the Colorado Dept. of Labor & Employment, to provide career guidance and job placement.
"Colorado has long been on the cutting edge of technology, especially aerospace," said Fort, director of the 8th Continent Project at Colorado School of Mines. "Colorado ADSC is another example of our state's commitment to ensuring economic vitality for its communities and bright futures for Colorado students of all ages. We hope to eventually engage all academic institutions and workforce centers within the state in this important initiative."
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.