Photo by ThisIsEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

$50,000 STEM Award honors programs building career pathways for diverse populations

From Seminole State College

Seminole State College of Florida’s Associate of Science Degree in Network Services Technology has been named a winner of the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the Siemens Foundation.

Eight winning programs across the country are receiving the award for not only providing outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare, or information technology, but also for their intentional outreach and support of diverse populations that typically are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

Winning colleges will receive $50,000. Half will be allocated for program development, and half will be allocated as scholarships for outstanding students, known as Siemens Technical Scholars.

“Seminole State’s mission is to enhance the educational, economic, and cultural vitality of our region by providing exemplary learning opportunities to our diverse community,” said Seminole State President Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz. “We are honored to be recognized by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the Siemens Foundation for our efforts in supporting STEM careers throughout Central Florida’s diverse population.”

STEM jobs growth and SSC programs and scholarships

Overall, U.S. jobs in STEM fields are projected to grow at almost double the rate of non-STEM occupations. More than half of all STEM jobs across the United States require no more than an associate degree and pay wages that average more than $50,000 annually.

The community colleges honored with the Excellence and Equity in Community College STEM Award are playing a unique role in working to meet this demand. The selection committee identified exemplary programs that deliver exceptional training for jobs that require strong STEM technical skills, some classroom hands-on training, and a postsecondary credential below the four-year degree. Importantly, these programs are successful in reaching and supporting populations that are underrepresented in STEM fields, such as students of color, low-income students, and females.

“Community college STEM programs are a strong pathway to job security and financial success for many students—whether that means heading right into a great-paying job or getting a more advanced degree,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “This award recognizes the colleges that provide an excellent STEM education and develop talent from every community.”

Through a grant sponsored by the Gordon Family Giving Foundation, the foundation of NBA player Aaron Gordon who plays for the Orlando Magic, Seminole State is currently involved in CodeOrlando.  The program is designed to inspire and teach young, underserved minority and female students about technology so that they are more likely to pursue education and careers in the fascinating and critical world of technology.

Seminole State Information Systems Technology (IST) Professor Dr. Janell Robinson served as a mentor and designed the curriculum for the 30 middle and high school students who attended the camp in the summer of 2019. During the five weeks of the camp, students visited many local organizations and institutions, including the U.S. NavyNemours Children’s HospitalLockheed MartinEA SportsDisney WorldFull Sail University, and the University of Central Florida to learn about careers in the STEM field.

As part of the award, Seminole State, in partnership with the Aspen Institute, will select students to be recognized as Siemens Technical Scholars and receive a scholarship of $3,500 to $10,000 to continue their education or pay student loan debt. These diverse scholars will share their stories with their peers to demonstrate the economic opportunity available in STEM careers.

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor’s degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit seminolestate.edu, like SSC on Facebook at facebook.com/seminolestate and follow on Twitter: @seminolestate.  #SSC #GoStateGoFar 

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. The program is part of the Aspen Institute, a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society.

The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $122 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math. The Siemens Foundation’s mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are closing the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. and igniting and sustaining today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. For further information, visit http://www.siemens-foundation.org/ or follow @sfoundation

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