The Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation today announced the inaugural 2015 Siemens Technical Scholars. The new partnership between the Siemens Foundation and Aspen aims to help bridge the gap between projected shortages of skilled workers and the millions of high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and information technology.
The winners from Santa Fe College’s Cardiovascular Technology program are Victoria Paulsen, Jermaine Gaddis, Florence Contino and Stephanie Moore.
Overall, jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are projected to grow at almost double the rate of non-STEM occupations, and a large share of these jobs are in manufacturing and health care industries. Community colleges are a lynchpin to meeting this demand: More than half of all STEM jobs across the United States require no more than an associate’s degree and pay wages that average more than $50,000 annually.
The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program (CEP) has been working over the past four years to identify the top community colleges that are doing an outstanding job of providing students with the knowledge, skills, and credentials they need for success. Through a generous grant from the Siemens Foundation, CEP is now working to identify programs that help students achieve success in middle-skill STEM fields and recognize the exceptional scholars pursuing these career goals.
“The shortage of qualified, tech-savvy workers threatens to become a choke point in the growth of businesses and our country’s economic competiveness,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of Siemens Foundation. “It’s important to make sure young adults understand the tremendous opportunities available thorough STEM middle-skill jobs. Community colleges are a critical player in that and in ensuring we get the right mix in the talent pipeline.”
The exceptional individuals announced today as Siemens Technical Scholars are being awarded scholarships of between $3,500 and $10,000. They are all current students or recent graduates of middle-skill STEM programs at community colleges named top finalists for theAspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The biennial $1.1 million Aspen Prize recognizes institutions for outstanding outcomes in four areas: student learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students. See detailed listing of students and programs below and online.
“We need to learn more about how our best community colleges achieve strong outcomes for individual students in ways that also fuel strong economies and communities,” said Joshua Wyner, executive director of Aspen CEP and author of What Excellent Community Colleges Do. “The programs attended by these remarkable Scholars deliver first-rate preparation for jobs that employers are clamoring to fill and jobs that are a springboard to better economic opportunity. We all have a vested interest in helping more community colleges emulate this success.”