Sponsored By So Cal Toyota

By Mario McKellop

One of the biggest concerns for high school and college students is finding a secure, rewarding career in our constantly changing economy after they graduate college. With STEAM initiatives on the rise, Los Angeles-area teens and their parents can start on the right path towards a career in a technical field.

STEAM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts, and Math, a group of academic disciplines that have become increasingly important in recent years. In recent years, innovative educators across the country have evolved STEM learning programs to include arts education as a way to drive engagement and foster creative thinking in a new framework called STEAM.

Holding to its reputation as one of the most innovative parts of the country, Los Angeles is home a slew of organizations, programs and events that are happening right now in support of the STEAM learning movement.

At the K-12 level, After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles is the doing crucial work in providing area students with STEAM extended day learning. Hailed as one of the premier organizations of its type in the country, ASAS’S afterschool programs give kids an introduction to STEAM disciplines like coding, robotics, digital media, video game design and creative circuitry. With the instruction ASAS provides, Los Angeles-area children are getting the skills and inspiration they’ll need to find professional and personal fulfillment with a STEAM-related career later in life.

Another organization doing important STEAM learning work in Los Angeles is Genesis. Founded by UCLA Regent Scholar and veteran interior designer Sheri Schlesinger, Genesis’s mission is to provide LA-based K-12 students with hands-on STEAM educational experiences with afterschool and summer classes that will give them access to multimedia software and equipment, 3D printers and cutting-edge virtual reality technology.

The 2018 California STEAM Symposium is also a must-attend event for parents and teens interested in learning more about the wonderful world of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The conference, which takes place on Oct. 28-29, brings together thousands of teachers, administrators, students, and industry representatives to discuss STEAM education and to showcase cutting-edge concepts and products related to the field.

There are also exciting things happening in Los Angeles that will be of interest to teens on their way to college. General Assembly is an organization that strives to help individuals obtain the in-demand STEAM skills they need to be competitive in today’s employee marketplace. To that end, they offer full and part-time courses in data science, visual design front-end web development, and user experience design. And with more than 10,000 hiring partners, General Assembly has helped thousands of STEAM students start new and exciting careers.

A recently released report by the US Department of Commerce says that Americans interested in finding gainful and fulfilling employment should pursue careers in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM). In the last decade, the need for employees with STEM degrees was 20 percent higher than those without a STEM background. Moreover, STEM workers enjoyed wages that were 29 percent higher than those in every other field.

With the initiatives like the ones mentioned above, teens can steer towards a well-rounded STEAM education, giving them the tools they’ll need in the future to enter a career in a rewarding, cross-disciplinary field.