Newsletter, Vol. 3, August 2022

Project Team Hosts Workshop at HI-TEC 2022

Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work hosted a half-day preconference workshop at the 2022 High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) held on July 25–28 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

The Preparing Technicians project has developed tools designed to help colleges integrate the skill areas that make up what the project has identified as the “cross-disciplinary STEM core,” i.e., core content areas that are deemed essential to future success in STEM fields because they transcend narrow job specialization and enable technicians to adapt to complex employment environments. The three broad topic areas encompassed by the cross-disciplinary STEM core are advanced digital literacy, data knowledge and analysis, and business knowledge and processes. The following figures, taken from the project’s Framework for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core, show the technical applications that lie within those three areas.

The project also presented the free toolkit designed to facilitate adoption of the framework. Titled Adopting the Framework for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core: A Toolkit for Action, the document provides colleges with six actionable steps and practical tools designed to facilitate the adoption of the Framework for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core in a local context.

Each of six steps …

  1. Recruit a cross-disciplinary STEM core implementation team.
  2. Convene employers to prioritize topics.
  3. Determine curriculum gaps and integration points.
  4. Develop real-world scenarios.
  5. Participate in professional development opportunities.
  6. Support systemic change.

is accompanied by a self-checklist designed to help colleges assess their readiness for action, along with links to tools and templates.

The workshop covered the strategies faculty can use for introducing these topics to students by using cross-disciplinary workplace scenarios and the project’s free instructional cards. Workshop attendees collaborated with colleagues across disciplines to explore scenario development and create plans for implementation of two instructional cards.

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