There are over eight million STEM-related jobs in the US, of which only 24% are held by girls. Women and girls are not seeking jobs connected to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) even though those type of jobs earn, on average, 33% more money than girls with jobs unrelated to STEM.
ITE teacher Jason Goodman is working to show girls in our school that the courses he teaches can direct a clear path to those opportunities.
Industrial Technology classes, more commonly known as ITE, are typically full of male students. If you are a girl, you might not be drawn to joining that class.
Now, there is a new class called GO ITE with the goal of attracting more girls into taking the class.
“The idea is to provide an option for girls to experience STEM related topics in a comfortable setting around projects geared toward their interests. I want girls to have all of the same opportunities to explore and learn about technology as everyone else,” said Goodman.
GO ITE, like ITE, will focus on the topics of STEM: communication, construction, transportation, manufacturing and biotechnology, but have some clear differences.
“The difference is how we utilize the information we are learning about through projects and assignments. Traditionally, in ITE when we are learning about material in a manufacturing unit, we would do a project such as a bird feeder where we would take raw materials and turn them into a product using saws and drills and other power tools to complete the manufacturing process,” said Goodman. “In GO ITE we will do a manufacturing unit and produce a product such as chapstick and nail polish. We will still be using tools and going through the manufacturing process, but using different STEM related tools that girls are more comfortable with and focusing on a project that would be more in line with their interests.”
Students can expect to explore different ways to learn about STEM. They can also expect to do hands on projects, learn how to use technology and to, of course, have fun.
“I think students will enjoy GO ITE because they will be able to explore new information through their interests. When we were learning about measuring, we made hair bows that required us to practice our measuring skills. The girls could choose from several different types and colors of ribbon and they were able to design and make their own creation while practicing measuring. When we are exploring technology and engineering design, we will make some jewelry. The students will be able to choose if they want a bracelet, earrings, or something else. They will get to choose the design and color of their design, giving them a lot of choices that they get to pick,” said Goodman.
According to Goodman, there is no standard definition for what constitutes a STEM job. Science, technology, engineering and math positions consistently make the lists of STEM occupations. Goodman believes girls can also do STEM jobs, not just boys.
“The GO ITE class is a good way for girls to learn about technology and engineering. They will be able to see many ways technology is used and affects our daily life, and they could find an avenue toward a career path,” said Goodman.
Story by Kennedy Slaten