LancasterThrivingFallWinter2017 - 7

Hosting the externship meant the High Companies needed
to look closely at what types of jobs related to STEM it could
offer. It came up with 26 different positions, both in offices
and on manufacturing shop floors. As educators toured
various High businesses, many wore bright yellow hard
hats, reflective vests, and those very necessary (but unsexy)
goggles. They explored transit, steel, corporate and other
High divisions, and learned how complex some processes
are. Plus what kind of skills, not necessarily 4-year degrees,
are required.
"I've always encouraged students to go into their career
field of interest," Hackman says, "but didn't know what all the
opportunities were." For her, it was more about resumes and
staging mock interviews. Beyond being exposed to concrete
this summer, she learned about transporting huge loads and
forming steel. It changed her perspective.
"There are so many people who don't want a job at a desk.
They like using their hands, and they like getting dirty. I
needed to learn about construction and manufacturing very
quickly and to speak the same language that my students
have, because they have so many skills in these industries. It
was about jumping in and learning as fast as I could." Now,
she says, she can talk to her students about food production
or construction and which types of jobs will fit them better.
So why are so many of us unaware of how many STEM jobs
go unfilled? And why do we think students may not be
interested? Why might we generalize about the types of
jobs that involve science, technology, engineering or math?

supply of skills for shop jobs, like welding, not just locally
but nationally. We wanted to equip educators with more
knowledge of STEM jobs, because they're big influences on
students on what education and careers they may pursue."
The idea for the externship arose when members of a task
force of the Lancaster County STEM Alliance got to talking.
They represent the Lancaster Chamber, the Lancaster
Economic Development Company, High Industries,
Lancaster Newspapers and others.
Check out the digital version on to see Jill
and the other educators in action.

Part of the problem is perception. Creativity is a word that's
often been reserved for the drama department, the art
department, for creative (there's that word) writing. But
winning a competition because your team has invented
a way to turn footsteps into energy? Pretty cool, right?
That's exactly what the Pequea Valley Technology Student
Association did. They made a floor tile that produces
electricity when you walk on it.
Another group of 6th graders was making a solar-powered
flashlight. Some in the class struggled in other subjects and
had some behavior concerns. Yet they persevered because
they wanted to fix their invention. Lancaster-Lebanon
IU's Elementary STEM Teacher of the Year, Mitch Swords,
recalls, "They gave up their lunch and recess time to come
in because I was teaching them how to solder wires to get
their flashlight to work." Swords brought in his own supplies.
"We had an amazing afternoon outside working on the
wiring, and each kid learned how to solder. We all had a
blast, and they felt very proud of their flashlight invention


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