Students entering the 21st century workplace will face an occupational world with jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago. A majority of high-paying jobs will be in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) career fields. On Thursday, April 13, Mount Pleasant students will have the opportunity to discover exciting STEAM career paths at the Maury County Public Schools and Junior Achievement STEAM Summit.
The day-long summit event at the Mount Pleasant Community Center inspires Mount Pleasant students to pursue an academic STEAM focus in the remainder of their high school courses, helping prepare them for STEAM careers in the future. The Summit is a collaborative effort between Maury County Public Schools, Junior Achievement and the business community, including Parker Hannifin (formerly CLARCOR).
The program, coordinated and run by Junior Achievement, offers this program free to schools, and involves dozens of business volunteers who work with students during the day. Each volunteer has a specific STEAM career and is able to share their background with the students.
STEAM jobs are growing. There are currently 26 million STEAM jobs in the United States, and one in 20 jobs will be STEAM related by 2018. 50 percent of STEAM jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree. As a result, STEAM knowledge plays a much larger role in the economy than previously thought. STEAM jobs also create a higher income potential. A sub-bachelor’s degree in a STEAM job compared to a non-STEAM job has a 10 percent wage premium, and a bachelor’s degree or higher in a STEAM job has a 14 percent wage premium.
Maury County Public Schools is at the forefront of the STEAM movement. Schools across the country have implemented the STEAM model, but MCPS is the first K-12 STEAM campus in the nation—another innovative leap for the school system.
In Maury County, the STEAM movement is spearheaded by Mount Pleasant High School Principal and Mount Pleasant Arts Innovation Zone Artsministrator Dr. Ryan B. Jackson. Responsible for implementing the new program, Jackson’s goal is to break out of the industrial-age teaching model of listener and lecturer, and instead empower students to be the next generation of creators, thinkers and problem solvers though project-based learning and experiential learning.
“We value a STEAM education at Maury County Public Schools. It sets students on the course of a brighter future—and the ability to change the world. STEAM jobs find cures, introduce new inventions to the world and develop life-changing technology,” said Jackson. “The summit event provides engaging discussions, immersive competitions and hands-on experiments that go beyond teaching and inspire future careers. The immersive style creates situations where students are involved in science, technology, engineering, art and math without even knowing it.”
The summit comes at a time when the school district is making major strides in technology, shifting from text books to devices. The DIPLMOA program aims to place a device in the hands of every student and teacher in its schools. The district also plans to announce a digital business partnership this spring in coordination with the Maury Alliance. For Maury County students, the future is bright.