GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is increasingly becoming an important part of school curriculum, and can lead to lucrative jobs in many different industries. U.S. Cellular is showing kids at the Boys & Girls Club of the Rogue Valley the importance of STEM, in the hopes it will create a more diverse engineering workforce in the future.
U.S. Cellular spoke to a gym full of students about the importance of engineering. They demonstrated through a presentation and hands on activities how a network operates, and how workers maintain it.
Jeff Bell, a Network Operations Manager for U.S. Cellular, says it's never too early to introduce kids to these ideas.
"When they do start making decisions it will be in the back of their mind like 'wow that engineering really interested me and i'm going to pursue this,'" said Bell.
This isn't the first time the kids at the Boys & Girls Club of the Rogue Valley have learned about STEM. Two years ago Greg Roe became the executive director, and started to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).
Now, our local Boys & Girls Club is the only program in the Northwest with a full-time STEAM coordinator.
"Our society changes around science daily. So we wanted our kids to be prepared for those changes and be interested in careers in those fields," said Greg Roe, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Rogue Valley.
Like many trades across the nation, U.S. Cellular is focusing on building a younger workforce.
"We're at a challenging point where we need to bring in younger people who are really interested in engineering technology, telecommunications specifically, because we're going to age out and retire in another 10 to 20 years," said Bell.
Throughout the summer, kids will be working with organizations like the Southern Oregon Air Academy and Rogue Community College to encourage them to go into STEAM careers.