OSU Institute of Technology has been recognized for providing training and job opportunities to students seeking careers in STEM areas— science, technology, engineering and math.
OSUIT has been designated a 2015 STEM Jobs Approved College by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business that works to connect individuals in transition with education, business and career opportunities. The company conducted a survey that measures how effectively schools align their programs to high demand, high paying STEM jobs, and how well they assist students seeking jobs in STEM fields.
“This is a very exciting time for OSU Institute of Technology. To be on the STEM Jobs Approved Colleges list validates what our industry partners already know about OSUIT,” said Dr. Ina Agnew, vice president of student services. “We are the ‘University of Jobs’ and employers interested in hiring technicians who have mastered the skills and competencies to be productive from the first day on the job know to hire graduates of our programs.”
Over 1,600 schools participated in the inaugural STEM Jobs survey process. Universities were scored on STEM job alignment, job placement and diversity in the school’s STEM programs.
Agnew said many students are afraid to consider STEM majors because of the math involved, but just because students may not have been successful in math in high school doesn’t mean they can’t do the math, or that they’ll fail in a STEM career.
“We teach in an applied learning environment. What this means is that rather than listening to a lecture with all kinds of theories to memorize, our students learn by building models and testing them, completing projects and seeing how math is applied in the work setting,” she said. “It takes the fear away when they realize they’ve actually been doing math and just never realized it.”
Another important factor in more people seeking STEM programs at colleges and universities is educating students about the advantages of STEM careers and correcting misconceptions about jobs in areas of technology, science and engineering.
In 2009 a survey from Deloitte Development found that 75 percent of people believe manufacturing is important to our standard of living and economic prosperity, but only three out of 10 parents would support their child’s decision to pursue a career in manufacturing.
“Parents and potential students believe the work environment is low-tech, low pay and unsafe. That may have been true decades ago, but now manufacturing is just behind information technologies in technical advances and equipment,” Agnew said. “It would be difficult to find a manufacturing facility where programming and robotics aren’t part of the operation.”
The strength of STEM careers and industries are large determinates of a country’s economic and employment health and viability.
“Those countries pushing the envelope on technological innovations and research will control much of what takes place globally in terms of economics and productivity,” Agnew said. “If the United States hopes to retain its position as a world leader, we must encourage more people to pursue STEM careers.”