A whole new world of career opportunities in science, technology, electronics and math has up opened to students at Branchville High School.
Shea Tighe, director of engagement for STEM Premier, and James Richter from the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance recently presented information about SC Future Makers to educators, parents and students at the high school.
Businesses coming into the state have been promised “all kinds of talent,” but they can’t find these promising young students, Tighe said. And there are a lot of students looking for jobs and they can’t find them.
“There’s a huge gap out there,” Tighe said. “The whole point of this (SC Future Makers) is to open the door to the other side. It’s a first time ever in this country’s history.”
SC Future Makers is designed to bring students, colleges and companies together, Tighe said.
Branchville is one of 100 schools statewide accepted as a part of the new initiative that puts a STEM Premier Dashboard in the school. This software allows students to build personal portfolios and put them online for prospective colleges and businesses to view.
“This is the way it works,” Richter said. “We are encouraging student to create a profile .. to showcase everything about yourself: who you are, what you want to do, where you want to go.”
The profile will include the information normally on portfolios, such as grade-point ratio and test scores. But it will also allow students to put in any kind of special skills they have, he said.
It also gives students connections that help them find available careers in areas of interest, as well as scholarship opportunities, Richter said.
The average debt for a four-year degree is $28,000 and will cost students some $300 a month in payments, he said.
“We are telling the stories about what is out there,” he said. “The idea is to know what’s out there and connect with it.”
STEM Premier, the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance and the S.C. Department of Commerce are sponsoring SC Future Makers. The state is paying for 100 dashboards to be placed in high schools across the state.
Richer said that four more local schools have been offered the opportunity to participate in the initiative.