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Lombardi Students Get a Kick-Start on Careers

Brie Groves

Lombardi Students Get a Kick-Start on Careers

CREATED Jan. 21, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. --Middle school is the perfect time for students to explore and learn. At Lombardi Middle School they're given an advantage with the new Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program that provides a variety of engineering and science skills.

The students go through rigorous and relevant activity-, project-, and problem-based learning
It's all a part of a growing initiative to get students more interested and involved in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)

To help close the STEM gap, Clint Griffith became part of PLTW, teaching his students about technology and engineering through a curriculum that goes beyond the textbook.
"They get to do their ideas and see how it works and if it fails or succeeds and what could they do better next time to make them more workable," says Griffith.

In fact just recently the students took a week to build a function able sled, teaching them different design and technology concepts. Now they're working on building Co2 cars.
"First you just create a 2D drawing, draw the rectangle, put in the holes and axles," 7th grader Jacob White is soaking up the lessons hoping this will guide him along the path of becoming a mechanical engineer. He explains, "We get to learn a lot more engineering at a younger age to find jobs later on."

According to Brookings Institution STEM knowledge is playing a vital role in the U.S. economy, adding up to 26 million jobs in this country alone. "We're finding out from employers that if they have the stem training background they are more hirable than someone that doesn't have it at all...even at a high school level," explains Griffith.

Manufacturing companies are searching for scientists and engineers at a higher rate than they do hourly wage jobs and the students at Lombardi Middle School are getting a head start on  their competition.  Griffith says, "The jobs they're training for don't even exist yet and we're trying to give them some of the background that they can go right into their job force ."

This is the first year that the school has integrated the Pathway to Engineering class as part of the PLTW' program. They planned on having 2 year round courses, but there was so much demand that they had to double that.