By Melissa Moore-Randall
Revere High School will be the site of a STEM Careers Fair this Friday from 9:00-10:30. The STEM Careers Fair at Revere High School is one of MassHire Metro North Workforce Board’s first STEM Careers Fair (the first was held in December at CityLab, featured 6 employers, and was attended by over 50 students) and is planned in partnership with Revere High School.
The idea behind STEM Careers Fairs is to bring the opportunities of a general college and careers fair to a smaller subset of students in grades 9-12 who are interested in STEM-specific fields. Career fairs in general are focused on exposing students to potential career paths rather than recruiting or hiring them which differentiates their careers fairs from their job fairs.
According to Kate Armstrong, STEM Programs Manager at MassHire Metro North Workforce Board, “With a smaller and more focused event like the STEM Careers Fair, Revere High School students who participate are able to spend more time speaking with employers in the industries that they are actually interested in. We also tend not to make the STEM Careers Fairs mandatory for the entire student body, so that the students participating truly are interested in learning about these different career paths and having meaningful conversations with employers–it’s sort of a “quality over quantity” idea in comparison to more general college and careers fairs.”
Armstrong added that “Employers and professionals who take part in STEM Careers Fairs are volunteering their time to help students learn about the wide variety of options across STEM fields. They engage students in conversation about what working in their field is really like, share their own personal career journey, and share information with students about the sort of education and training needed to enter that field. We ask the employers to bring some sort of interactive component to the fair if possible. Folks from AECOM brought a 12’ model bridge to our last fair and engaged students with a bridge engineering challenge, BrainCo brought a robotic hand, and we had Cataldo Ambulance bring a CPR dummy as well–in addition to smaller things like 3-D printed objects and different manufactured materials. It’s so engaging for students to have some form of visual or tactile experience, and those experiences really do stick with them!”
For the Revere High STEM Careers Fair, they currently have 12 professionals joining them from AECOM (engineering), Pega (tech), Advanced Foundational Fabrics of America (technology/engineering/manufacturing), Gloucester Biotechnology Academy (biotechnology and STEM education), Cambridge Health Alliance (healthcare), Mystic River Watershed Association (environmental science and STEM education), M&T Bank Revere (math), Weston & Sampson Engineers (engineering), MyDental (healthcare), Inter-Fluve (environmental science and engineering), Bond Brothers (engineering), and The Loop Lab (technology)–with new employers continuing to sign up! Interactive components for this fair will include digital film cameras and filming lights, specimens of wildlife found at Belle Isle Marsh, advanced fabric prototypes, a 12ftx12ft model bridge, and a bridge engineering/building challenge to name a few.
“Another great aspect of the STEM Careers Fair is that through meeting and speaking with students, STEM employers can get an idea of what sorts of internships and opportunities students are interested in. We have a large number of students–both at Revere High and at our other partner schools–who are actively seeking local STEM internships. Many students are eligible to participate in internships during school hours or directly after school but getting to Boston or Cambridge, where most STEM internship opportunities are, isn’t feasible in that timeframe.
Revere High students completing STEM internships are even able to be paid through a Massachusetts Department of Education grant received by MassHire Metro North Workforce Board, which takes the pressure to provide payment off of employers. It’s really just a matter of finding local STEM-related businesses who are willing to give back to the community and help build the next generation of STEM professionals. Many students have to choose between exploring a career interest through an unpaid internship or working to support themselves or their families, so this grant will allow those students to explore their career interests while earning $15/hour so that they don’t have to make that choice, as long as we have the employers to mentor them. Bringing these professionals in to really connect with the students has helped employers realize that working with a high school intern can be one of the most meaningful ways to invest in the community and the next generation.”
For more information or to register for the Career Fair, contact Kate Armstrong at [email protected]