Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
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$900,000 NSF grant funds STEM pilot program

Careers in STEM-related fields offer a wide variety of well-paid positions, many of them in management.

Seminole State College of Florida has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant totaling almost $900,000, to be paid over the next three years to prepare students for high-earning careers in engineering, architecture and construction.

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant is the largest NSF grant in the College’s nearly 50-year history.

The goal of the grant is to create interest in careers related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and also to provide assistance to help students succeed, says Michael Staley, dean, School of Engineering, Design and Construction for Seminole State.

“There are dozens of careers in these areas,” Staley says, “many of them management-level and all of them well-paid.”

Seminole State will partner with Seminole County high schools to identify students for the program, which will also be available to first-time-in-college students.

Through Seminole State’s dual enrollment program, high school students who participate will earn college credit. Once they graduate from high school, they can continue to work toward a two- or four-year degree from Seminole State.

Highlights of the program include:

  • A new weeklong intensive summer program (June 10-14) for high school juniors that showcases the latest developments in construction, engineering and architectural design. Students who participate earn college credit.
  • Early advisement and tutoring support to help the students succeed.

Staley says examples of the high-earning careers available in engineering, construction and design include:

  • Architectural Drafter/Designer
  • Energy Efficiency Consultant
  • Industrial Designer
  • Building Inspector/Contractor
  • CAD Engineering Drafter/Designer
  • Construction Manager

At the end of the grant period, says Jason Gaschel, project manager for the grant, the College will share its results and best practices with other public colleges throughout the country.

“Nationwide, there is a need for people with the right skills and knowledge for these STEM positions,” Gaschel says. “We’re putting this program in place to help produce quality graduates to fill these positions.”

Seminole State College of Florida's School of Engineering, Design and Construction offers 19 degrees and certificates, including bachelor's degrees in architectural engineering technology, construction and interior design. Courses are taught by Florida-licensed professionals who are involved in the industry.

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