Thursday — October 3, 2019

by STEMconnector

In today’s STEMdaily, Science News releases its annual SN10 list spotlighting early and mid-career scientists already making a big difference, a study by career site Handshake finds more women – and some without STEM degrees – are applying to tech jobs each year, the Northeast Florida STEM2 Hub released a documentary on Jacksonville’s Channel 4, and Sinclair Community College in Dayton received a Dept. of Labor grant to support community apprenticeships.

Click here for the full 10/3 STEMdaily.


This year’s SN 10 enjoy the journey, not just the discovery (Science News)
For the fifth consecutive year, Science News is spotlighting 10 early- and mid-career scientists who are persistent enough to make headway on science’s big questions. Some are tackling problems of societal importance: studying how climate change will affect food supplies, for example, or trying to make education more equitable. Others are seeking knowledge to answer fundamental questions, such as how the chemistry of space gives rise to the chemistry of life. Members of this year’s group are developing new tools to see deep into cells or into the mind, and are finding new routes to green fuels (thank you, goats). 



Where top VCs are investing in edtech (TechCrunch)
Education is regarded as a tough market for achieving VC scale returns. Selling into school districts and universities is difficult and slow, and freemium models that go direct-to-teachers have struggled to monetize. New software, content, and financing solutions for learning outside the traditional school system are more compelling business opportunities. This is particularly the case in vocational training where the return on investment of an educational program or tool can be quantitatively measured in job offers and salary increases

Amazon Introduces Alexa Education Skill API (T.H.E. Journal)
Amazon wants to give developers the ability to integrate Alexa skills into their education technology services. The Alexa Education Skill API enables students 13 and older to ask Alexa questions about their homework assignments and allows parents to check in with teachers about their child’s grades and behaviors in school using Alexa devices. Developers will be able to incorporate Alexa skills into their learning management systems, student information systems, classroom management tools and massively open online course platforms. Students and parents will be able to retrieve information from multiple skills at the same time by only making one request. 


Diversity in STEM

America is Changing and So Are We: Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives by the Life Insurance Industry (IMPACT)
America is becoming more diverse every day. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that our nation will become “majority minority” by 2045. As society and work change, life insurers are committed to empowering all Americans with the information and tools they need to succeed in their financial futures. Building a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the wide variety of communities we serve is critical for our success.

More women are applying for tech jobs, some without STEM degrees (HR Dive)
More women are applying for tech jobs every year — many without STEM degrees — according to a study of female students and recent graduates by Handshake, a career site for college students. The study found that 72% more women applied for jobs as software engineers and developers than in the prior year. Handshake said the study’s purpose was to assess progress in closing the gender tech gap. It is based on data from 100,000 female applicants on its career platform.

5 Tips For Getting Ahead From An Unusual STEM Career (Forbes)
You never know what might happen on a school field trip, even if you’ve been to that place before. Robin Currey’s University of Michigan professors were taking them on a field trip to the same plot of land they had visited before, but with one professor, she saw it in a completely different way, and it changed the course of her career. Today, after a winding road that took her to an unusual place on the other side of the planet, she serves as Director of Sustainable Food Systems at Prescott College when her field is a crucial piece in the climate change puzzle. 

K-12 Education

Igniting the Future: The STEM Education Revolution (News4Jax)
The Northeast Florida STEM2 Hub has released a documentary called Igniting the Future: The STEM Education Revolution. Hosted by Melanie Lawson, the documentary aired on News4 Jacksonville on September 30th, and it showcases NEFLSTEM2’s programs helping all students gain access to experiences in computer science, coding, high-quality mathematics instruction, and experiences that are problem-based and interdisciplinary in nature, such as those experienced by programming a robot in Northeast Florida Launches District Partnership Program (T.H.E. Journal) is starting a free program to help school leaders find resources and funding opportunities to address the needs of their teachers. The District Partnership Program is working with 10 school district to pilot the initiative. Each district gets access to a customized landing page on where they can monitor materials donated and get early notifications on new philanthropic funding opportunities for their teachers. 


American companies have a hiring problem (Quartz)
Seemingly endemic skills gaps now touch nearly every facet of our labor market, as the specter of mass technological unemployment looms large. And yet the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks the U.S. second-to-last among 29 developed nations in investing in taxpayer-funded training. The challenge is not simply a lack of funding. Nor is it an education infrastructure that has failed to keep pace with tech’s transformation of the economy, as corporate leaders are prone to suggest. Rather, companies are to blame most here, as they are complicit in the reskilling crisis in America.

Liberal arts degree? No degree at all? You are the perfect candidate for a tech job (CNBC)
For the past two years as many as 1 million tech jobs remain unfilled. Tech executives on the CNBC Technology Executive Council say it has become harder to fill tech positions, so candidates with liberal arts degrees, or no college degree, are now being hired. “Tech companies and enterprises who depend on digital technologies to drive their primary mission are in a virtual arms race to hire and retain tech-skilled workers,” one executive told CNBC. 

Higher Education

Dayton college awarded $140K apprenticeship grant (Dayton Business Journal)
One of the largest colleges in Dayton has received an investment that will allow it to place hundreds of students in paid apprenticeships over the next several years. Sinclair Community College received $140,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to support its Expanding Community College Apprenticeships (ECCA) initiative. The initiative, a national project designed by the American Association of Community Colleges, will be conducted over three years and will train 16,000 apprentices nationally.

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