WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation today announced the inaugural 2015 Siemens Technical Scholars. The new partnership between the Siemens Foundation and Aspen aims to help bridge the gap between projected shortages of skilled workers and the millions of high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and information technology.
Overall, jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are projected to grow at almost double the rate of non-STEM occupations, and a large share of these jobs are in manufacturing and health care industries. Community colleges are a lynchpin to meeting this demand: More than half of all STEM jobs across the United States require no more than an associate's degree and pay wages that average more than $50,000 annually.
The Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program (CEP) has been working over the past four years to identify the top community colleges that are doing an outstanding job of providing students with the knowledge, skills, and credentials they need for success. Through a generous grant from the Siemens Foundation, CEP is now working to identify programs that help students achieve success in middle-skill STEM fields and recognize the exceptional scholars pursuing these career goals.
"The shortage of qualified, tech-savvy workers threatens to become a choke point in the growth of businesses and our country's economic competitiveness," said David Etzwiler, CEO of Siemens Foundation. "It's important to make sure young adults understand the tremendous opportunities available thorough STEM middle-skill jobs. Community colleges are a critical player in that and in ensuring we get the right mix in the talent pipeline."
The exceptional individuals announced today as Siemens Technical Scholars are being awarded scholarships of between $3,500 and $10,000. They are all current students or recent graduates of middle-skill STEM programs at community colleges named top finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The biennial $1.1 million Aspen Prize recognizes institutions for outstanding outcomes in four areas: student learning; certificate and degree completion; employment and earnings; and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students. See detailed listing of students and programs below and online.
"We need to learn more about how our best community colleges achieve strong outcomes for individual students in ways that also fuel strong economies and communities," said Joshua Wyner, executive director of Aspen CEP and author of What Excellent Community Colleges Do. "The programs attended by these remarkable Scholars deliver first-rate preparation for jobs that employers are clamoring to fill and jobs that are a springboard to better economic opportunity. We all have a vested interest in helping more community colleges emulate this success."
2015 Siemens Technical Scholars and Middle-Skill STEM Programs
On average, 93% of graduates from these programs were placed in jobs within 6 months of graduation with a median starting salary range of $32,760 - $82,144 per year.
The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to advance higher education practices, policies, and leadership that significantly improve student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the New College Leadership Project, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges' understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org/college-excellence.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $90 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math. The Foundation's mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens' companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are helping close the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. when it comes to STEM careers, and igniting and sustaining today's STEM workforce and tomorrow's scientists and engineers. Follow the Siemens Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE The Aspen Institute