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ONE of the sure signs that a program is dedicated to providing high school students an educational path into rewarding careers such as engineering is the number of students who elect to continue along that route.
By that measure, the Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School’s integrated curriculum designed to foster an interest among young people in engineering is certainly off to a good start after only one year. Of the 134 students who took the class in the last school year, approximately 90 have elected to continue.
And the program has proved to be of such an interest that it has now been expanded into Columbus East and North high schools.
This particular program — known as Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Immersion — is part of a larger effort to present students with a variety of educational pathways that can lead to well-paying careers. It stems from a philosophy central to the EcO15 (Economic Opportunity 2015) initiative that was developed by a number of community and educational leaders to prepare local residents for an increasingly competitive and technical work environment by 2015.
In some cases, success is dependent upon students simply being exposed to what is out there in the realm of possibilities. Surveys from students in the engineering immersion program point to the validity of that approach. For instance, a third of the girls who participated said that they would never have considered a career in engineering had they not been exposed to the field in the class.
While students are major beneficiaries in this educational opportunity, there are others who can reap the rewards of its success.
Certainly area businesses that rely on a skilled workforce with engineering expertise will be given greater choices in determining where those individuals will be found. With the development of these programs in their own community, those businesses will have greater flexibility than they have had in the recent past, especially since American colleges and universities have not been able to turn out enough engineering graduates to fill the need.
There are community benefits as well in that those who go on to professional careers have a greater inclination to remain in this area because of the positions that are available in their own hometown.
The engineering immersion program is still in its infancy, but the results to date indicate that it has a promising future with positive effects on a lot of people.
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