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Educators Seek New Ways to Steer Kids Toward Technical Fields

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sixth-grade science lab

Credit: JKL Bahweting Science Lab

At the new Hughes STEM High School, in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati (UC), students learn concepts of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by using their hands. Hughes STEM High School mirrors a national trend of partnerships between K-12 and higher education to put more students on track for STEM careers. The programs enable students to learn through hands-on activities, project-based assignments, and apprenticeships in the field.

Many students do not know enough about the industry to even think about pursuing STEM jobs, says UC's Carla Johnson. Hughes introduces students to STEM career possibilities and offers high school/college enrollment programs, co-ops, and internships. Along with Ohio and Colorado, Massachusetts also offers a wide array of partnerships between K-12 schools and universities.

The Center for STEM Education started its outreach work in the late 1980s as part of several research projects that developed at Northeastern University, focusing on partnerships with local school districts. "Getting them into a classroom early in their careers will increase their comfort level, help them reinforce science concepts, and explain it in context," says the Center's Claire Duggan.

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