Building a STEM Workforce

The first step to building a STEM workforce is inspiring young people

Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA

People often ask me how the digital economy is changing jobs at Siemens, and I’ll share with you my short answer:

 

Almost all of our jobs today, and especially our technical positions, require some knowledge in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

 

David Etzwiler, CEO of our Siemens Foundation, which has invested more than $115 million in STEM education and workforce development initiatives, put it well in a speech last year when he said:

“As more companies like Siemens reinvent themselves for the digital economy, most quality jobs will have one thing in common – and, that’s STEM. We expect that for a coder. We expect that for a software engineer or a cybersecurity expert. But now we also need STEM for positions that we traditionally think of as more blue collar – like welders, technicians, and machinists.”

Our manufacturing positions exemplify this trend by frequently requiring both hands-on training on the job as well as STEM training in the classroom. That’s why Siemens recently expanded our U.S. apprenticeship program, which partners with community colleges, to 9 states.

 

But there’s still another way that our Siemens employees are helping to develop a STEM workforce – and that’s by getting involved in their communities. They’re helping to introduce young people to STEM, lighting up new pathways and potentially even future careers.

 

Introducing STEM at an early age helps develop critical thinking, increase science literacy and introduce our next generation of innovators to everything that’s possible. As an advocate of STEM outreach, Siemens employees are ambassadors of learning.

 

I watched with pride as our employees spent the summer months sparking enthusiasm in young scientists and engineers, equipping them with the tools they need to take on current and future challenges. Here are a few of my favorite highlights:

  • The STEM@Siemens Summer Work Experience – Started in 2014, in Orlando, Fla., STEM@Siemens gives young people a chance to get real world hands-on work experience in the energy and IT fields during a 10-week immersion program. The 18 participating students this year also received $2,500 school scholarships.
  • The gift of STEM in the classroom - Siemens employees prepared and donated more than 200 solar car kits to students attending Henderson Middle and McConnell Middle schools in metro Atlanta, complementing the solar power curriculum taught in 6-8th grade. Employees visited a third Atlanta-area school to build circuit boards with flashing LED lights that danced to a student’s favorite playlist.
  • The ‘Student Zone’ at Manufacturing in America - More than 250 students hailing from the Detroit tri-county area explored career paths, experienced Siemens products and technology in action, and made valuable connections when they attended the Student Zone at our annual Manufacturing in America user conference. Two local FIRST Robotics teams also attended, and attempted to score more baskets than a robot in the Great Basketball Challenge. (Good news, the humans won, and both FIRST teams were awarded $2,500 donations.)
  • The Youth Energy Academy – This two-day workshop hosted by the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) in Orlando, Fla., gave our employees the opportunity to educate high school students about careers in STEM and in the energy industry.
  • SolidEdge Camp – For the first time this summer, our PLM Software teams in Plano, Texas and Lavonia, Ga., hosted nearly 30 students for a week-long CAD software programming camp in our offices – and culminated the week with a design competition.

These are inspiring examples of Siemens employees transferring their passion for technology and innovation to young people from diverse backgrounds. Introducing students to STEM will serve them well for the rest of their lives, no matter what they choose to do.