The 3rd Annual Career STEAMposium was an overwhelming success. Everyone from the students to the presenters to the parents and the organizations that sponsored the event could not help but get caught up in the excitement in the room as students talked to, learned from and did hands-on activities in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). The Career STEAMposium focuses on exposing middle school through community college students to professionals that are currently in STEAM careers. STEAM pervades every part of our lives and career opportunities in these areas are growing by about 14% per year. In order to be gainfully employed, it is important to have skills that people are willing to pay to gain access to. STEAM professions are the jobs of today and the future. Many high paying jobs in these areas continue to go unﬁlled because there is a gap between workforce skillsets and job requirements. If we want to close this gap, we need to encourage our future workforce to pursue careers of the future which are in STEAM. The Career STEAMposium kicked off the day with Dr. Soraya Coley, President of Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona, telling the attendees that “The jobs that you are going to have in the future have not been created yet.” That is a strong statement that highlights how fast things are moving forward and why it is important to participate in this fast moving future by gaining STEAM skills. This includes understanding that our youth will need the ability to take detours and turns as they prepare themselves for a future of engagement where they can leverage their gifts and talents to make the world better. They will also need to make a commitment to being lifelong learners.
As the students attended interactive workshops in each area of STEAM, they learned about the background of the presenters, how they have overcome obstacles in their lives and what their professions are today. There was a recurring theme among the presenters of, “If you enjoy what you’re doing, you will never work a day in your life.” Dexter Tanksley, Disney Imagineer & Sr. Project Manager, told the students, “Think about what your Mom & Dad don’t have to tell you to do. You should then look for careers that are available in those areas.” In essence, if you enjoy playing video games, what careers are available in these areas? What are the skillsets required?
The students also got a chance to do some Hands-On Activities in the areas of Precision Medicine sponsored by City of Hope, Virtual Reality sponsored by AT&T, Formula SAE Car sponsored by Cal Poly Pomona and Robotics sponsored by RoboTitans, Droidnoughts & Wolf Corp. Each of these activities gave the students the opportunity to learn while they enjoyed the activities.
As the day came to a close, the attendees enjoyed lunch with a presenter of their choice where they continued to ask questions and learn from them. By the end of the day, the students provided positive feedback and were excited about the exposure that the program had offered them. Many said that they are now interested in pursuing careers in various aspects of STEAM.
This event that prepares our workforce of the future for the jobs of the future was sponsored by Southern California Edison, The Boeing Company, Pasadena City College, the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation, the Pasadena/Altadena Ivy Foundation and the Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.