EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) will implement a total of nine experiential programs throughout Connecticut this summer to introduce more than 200 students in grades 4 through 10 to STEM-related fields and careers.
Exploring today’s manufacturing
Young Manufacturers Academy (YMA) programs, run by CCAT in partnership with the Connecticut Technical High School System and supported with funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD) Manufacturing Innovation Fund, offer 7th to 9th graders an innovative introduction to the advanced manufacturing industry. The academies are held over two-week periods now through mid-August.
Offered as part of Connecticut. Dream It. Do It., a career awareness program led and licensed by CCAT, the YMA programs are dedicated to promoting a positive image of manufacturing and the variety of rewarding career opportunities it offers.
More than 125 students will participate in YMA sessions at multiple locations around the state including: A. I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford, E.C. Goodwin Technical High School in New Britain, W. F. Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury, Platt Technical High School in Milford, Emmet O’Brien Technical High School in Ansonia, and CCAT in East Hartford.
“The YMA program continues to expand both here in Connecticut and as a best practice model throughout the national Dream It. Do It. network,” said Susan Palisano, CCAT director of education and workforce development. “More students have the chance to participate in authentic, hands-on experiences and gain problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills – critical to future workplace success.”
At YMA, students learn what goes into producing products in workshops using lean manufacturing, engineering design, and industry software tools. They make products by hand, virtually, and with 3D printers. With simulated team-based activities, travel to manufacturing facilities for on-site tours, and a mock career fair capstone event for students and their families, YMA provides a unique opportunity to explore what it’s like to be part of manufacturing today.
According to Palisano, all YMA programs are currently filled but wait list applications are still being accepted. More information is available online at https://www.ccat.us/education-workforce/.
Discovering energy and aerospace
Summer CATALYST offers students entering grades 7 through 10 two weeks of hands-on and simulation-based explorations in sustainable energy and aerospace. The program promotes academic achievement in STEM and 21st century skills while introducing students to future career opportunities in high-tech fields.
Energy investigations focus on the impact of fossil fuels consumption, renewable energy solutions, and ways to be more environmentally responsible. Aerospace workshops explore the fundamentals of aerodynamics, aircraft design, and the challenges of human space exploration.
Students also visit local aerospace and energy businesses and universities to gain an appreciation and understanding for real-world applications, and education and career opportunities. Summer CATALYST is funded through a State Department of Education Interdistrict Cooperative grant and is offered free of charge to participating students.
Delving into computer programming
CCAT is piloting a new program this summer in partnership with Hartford Public Schools. Coding Connections introduces 4th and 5th grade students at Dr. Frank T. Simpson-Waverly School in Hartford’s North End to computer programming while reinforcing math and science skills, encouraging problem-solving and teamwork, and introducing future career possibilities.
Students will have an opportunity to hear from software programmers and developers, see how computer “code” is written, and learn about the variety of applications that can be created. They will participate in exciting hands-on workshops using LEGO® Robotics and the new WeDo™ software. Students will be able to design and develop computer programs to give instructions to the robots they build. The program will culminate with a team competition that parents and families will be invited to attend.
Educating for the future
“Employers in Connecticut and across the country are facing a serious challenge today – how to attract young talent, both men and women, to meet the needs of expanding STEM-related industries,” said Elliot Ginsberg, CCAT president & CEO. “At CCAT, we’re tackling the issue with creative programs such as YMA, Summer CATALYST, and Coding Connections to engage younger students in unique STEM-based activities while introducing them to exciting career and educational opportunities. It’s a bold approach that is vital to support Connecticut’s economic growth.”