According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, openings in STEM-related occupations are at an all-time high and are expected to grow 7 percent more than openings in non-STEM related fields through 2018.
In 2013, Delgado Community College responded to the immediate need for skilled workers by introducing its Technical Skills Expo (TSE) to underserved students in New Orleans.
“If we want the next generation of New Orleanians to prosper economically, we must provide programs that attract New Orleans students to STEM-related professions,” said Dr. Arnel Cosey, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.
The TSE introduces high school students to high-wage, high-demand occupations in the region as viable career pathways offered by Delgado through its Dual Enrollment (DE) program. Featured programs at the expo include carpentry, electrical, automotive, welding, industrial maintenance, precision machining and instrumentation and control.
During the 2013 and 2014 expos, Delgado and its business/industry partners provided overviews of each occupation with real-life demonstrations on state-of-the-art equipment to approximately 1500 students.
“The primary focus of the Technical Skills Expo is exposure,” said Dr. Larrisa Littleton-Steib, Vice Chancellor of Workforce Development and Technical Education. “We want to expose our youth to career opportunities that exist and motivate them to excel post-graduation.”
In the spring of 2016, 15 students from New Orleans earned their high school diplomas while simultaneously earning a certificate of technical studies (CTS) after successfully completing Delgado’s DE program. Since graduation, many of the students have secured employment in the local technical skills workforce.