Opening students eyes to the connection between learning and work
In collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee and MPS’ Obama School of CTE, the first GPS Education Partners STEM Career Awareness program was launched to provide awareness and understanding for 9th grade students about the skills and aptitudes needed for technical careers, and to promote future engagement in work-based learning experiences available in their communities.
Creating pathways to sustainable careers
For many young students in the Milwaukee area, having these opportunities to explore well-paying technical careers will keep them motivated to graduate with the skills and experiences needed to find their purpose in life and create a sustainable future.
Providing learning experiences based on career interests
As part of the pilot program, over 80 Obama CTE students who were members of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee participated in various integrated project-based and career-based experiences. They were able to explore their career interests to develop better Academic Career Plans, and gained invaluable access to employers who can provide deeper work-based learning experiences in a career interest as they progress through school.
STEM Career Awareness Program Overview
Over the course of a school year, students in grades 8th-10th engage in lessons about the engineering process. Progressively, more challenging projects are added to grow student’s knowledge about design, engineering, quality, and teamwork.
Example Core Components: Boys & Girls Club Program Activities
Each project begins with a project kick-off where the lead instructor explains the project and students are able to ask questions and clarify the requirements.
Research and Design Labs
Computer lab time and design space are open to students to work freely with the support of the lead instructor.
When projects require special skills, such as research, tool safety and use, blueprint reading and drawing, etc., lead instructor and subject matter experts from partnering businesses or other community-based organizations, offer sessions to help students develop these skills.
Business Partner Field Trips
To help students see how these real-world skills are used in local companies, students will engage in field trips where they tour facilities, learn about local job opportunities, and see the different processes as it is used every day in business right in their neighborhoods.
Creative lab space is made available to students with a supporting instructor and subject matter experts to guide their design processes and to monitor tool use/safety.
At the culmination of projects, students are asked to share their work and learning with the community. These events include testing of designs, student presentations, a celebration of student accomplishments, and recognition of supporting business partners.