Sponsored By So Cal Toyota

By Mario McKellop

Although it doesn’t yet have the same level of recognition as other sociopolitical forces, STEAM will soon have a massive impact on American society. As technological innovation renders increasingly large segments of the US employment market redundant, the need for workers skilled in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics will also greatly increase.

Los Angeles students and parents can stay ahead of the curve with a well-rounded STEAM education. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations and individuals who are working hard to ensure that Los Angeles-area children and young people have the skills they need to not only compete in the 21st-century jobs market, but also personal and intellectual fulfillment in the world of STEAM.

Movie star and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger may not immediately come to mind when considering educational innovators, but he’s actually responsible for founding one of the region’s most important STEAM programs. In 2002, Arnold Schwarzenegger founded After-School All-Stars, a Los Angeles-based organization that aims to provide crucial extended day learning for area young people.

ASAS’s STEAM program helps K-12 age children understand the basics of coding, video game design, creative circuitry and digital media in a safe and welcoming environment to inspire a lifelong interest that can turn into lucrative careers down the line.

General Assembly is another innovative STEAM education and career transformation organization that operates two campuses in Los Angeles. GA works with individuals to help them obtain the skills that they need to be competitive in the contemporary job market and connect them with companies who value workers with their skillsets.

To facilitate the process, General Assembly offers a host of full and part-time courses at their Downtown LA and Santa Monica locations that teach eager young learners and those displaced by shifts in the job market the ins and outs of data analytics, game design, web development, digital marketing, and user experience design.

And five years ago, UCLA Regent Scholar and Schlesinger and Associates founder Sheri Schlesinger had a revelation about her children’s future. Namely that the current educational system was not providing her children with the creative and innovative thinking skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. Wanting to address the problem, Schlesinger founded Genesis, an organization that works to provide Los Angeles-area children with hands-on STEAM educational experiences via problem-solving workshops at Marciano Art Foundation, summer classes, and even a mobile innovations lab that serves as a traveling state-of-the-art maker space for young people.

With unprecedented technological advances and constant changes in our economy, young people and teens need to be prepared more than ever for the future. Families can get ready with the Los Angeles-based groups above, who are working hard to pioneer STEAM education in the city.