Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Aerospace Week: STEM Time

My son dives into the science of gyroscopes at The Works' STEMFest in 2011.
It's National Aerospace Week and today's mid-week writing on the topic focuses on STEM. 

Inspired by the Wright Brothers and re-inspired by astronauts, Ohio has produced four generations of STEM-skilled workers.  What will be done to inspire the next generation of aerospace workers though?

The STEM skills--science, technology, engineering, and math--are critical to all manufacturing for which 70% of research and development work is done.  For aerospace, STEM is even more critical.

Licking County gets its better than most.

The Aerospace Center has a 50-year track record of attracting engineers and technicians to aerospace industry.  Many here can recite what inspired them.  The challenge is to inspire the future when NASA isn't going into space anymore and air flight has become mundanely routine.

Inspiration is happening though.

At a gathering of science centers from around the country next month, The Works, our local science museum, will be presenting a panel on STEM education.  Those ASTC folks had better be prepared to have their socks knocked off.

Who else there could brag the powerhouse list that The Works has had among companies through their doors showing parents and kids the value of STEM?

Battelle, Boeing, Goodrich (now UTC Aerospace Systems), Bayer MaterialScience, Rolls Royce, Dow, and Owens Corning are just a few of the dozens of companies with a Licking County and a regional presence that have invested in the effort.

So, during Aerospace Week, it's time to focus on the future of the industry and the need to inspire a next generation.  STEM is the start and for Licking County, STEM at The Works holds a big part of the answer.

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