STEM Training for Students Tied to Economic Mobility
As poverty rates remain high and the cost of living continues to increase in California, families are struggling to make basic ends meet. For many people, and particularly in underserved communities, wages have remained stagnant and meaningful job opportunities can be hard to find. To address this opportunity gap, colleges and companies are increasingly placing an emphasis on championing workforce training programs and curriculums related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in order to provide students with the resources, knowledge and technical skills they need to be successful in today’s economy.
According to a 2018 analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center, STEM training in college is associated with higher earnings for individuals, whether working in a STEM occupation or not. That’s why colleges like the Los Angeles Trade-Tech College (LATTC) are developing unique job training programs to offer students the opportunity to gain real-world workforce experience and provide a pathway for them to attain high-quality jobs and put them on a path to success.
LATTC partners with the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, which is comprised of 300 labor unions and over 450,000 members, and California Resources Corporation (CRC), California’s largest independent oil and natural gas producer, to host an innovative field training internship program annually. Every summer, LATTC students pursuing a degree or certificate in engineering, construction, design, maintenance or utilities are selected to participate in a paid workforce training internship at CRC, where staff and contractors through the Building Trades including operators, mechanics and electricians teach students job skills and provide insight into all facets of oil and gas operations, facilities and equipment. Interns additionally rotate through several departments such as operations, mechanical maintenance and electrical, ensuring that students have a well-rounded understanding of oil and gas operations by the end of their summer program.
Innovative and impactful STEM educational programming led by entities like LATTC, the Building Trades and CRC provide not just real-life work experiences for students, but also connects them to fields with high-paying, high-demand jobs that provide hope, financial security and quality careers. For example, the oil and natural gas industry supports more than 368,000 local jobs that reflect a diversity of workforce that is higher than most other job sectors and also provides $33 billion in labor income to California’s working families annually, ultimately enhancing everyone’s economic mobility.
Investing in the education of today’s youth is critical, especially since STEM is the foundation for how future generations will understand and help shape the world. In California, it’s important to champion STEM initiatives in our diverse, low-income communities and focus on providing job that will ultimately help provide a path to the middle class for California’s diverse working families.
Learn more about STEM and other workforce training and development programs in California: