Smart Move - The Missourian: Opinion

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Smart Move

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Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 9:11 am

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky attributed his success to obeying his father’s simple advice: “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.”

That advice holds true in hockey and in many other areas of life, including business.

When a business or an industry or even the country’s entire economy is undergoing massive disruption, seeing and embracing the future is priceless.

The more you know about where things are going, the smarter you can be about what to do right now.

That’s why we applaud St. Francis Borgia Regional High School’s decision to partner with Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla to implement Project Lead The Way (PLTW).

It shows Borgia understands where things are headed.

PLTW is an innovative, STEM-focused curriculum designed to equip students with the critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills necessary to become the next generation of innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs.

The national program prepares students for the hyper-competitive rigors of college and the business world by exposing them to courses in engineering and biomedical sciences in high school. It also provides students with an introduction to real-world experiences and project-based learning through partnerships with local businesses.

An enhanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum is critical because that is where the jobs are expected to be. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that jobs in those fields will grow 17 percent by 2018 which nearly doubles the growth for non-STEM fields.

By 2018, the United States will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM-related jobs because there will not be enough qualified workers to fill them.

Borgia plans to start the program by offering an introduction to engineering class next year. Eventually, the school hopes to offer four years of engineering-related classes and possibly biomedical science courses.

In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama said that the nation that goes all in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender, Obama declared. We agree.

Obama was echoing what many leaders throughout the educational, political, and corporate sectors have been saying for years: We need to cultivate innovation and creativity in young people.

In order for today’s students to excel in college and be equipped to succeed in the contemporary work force, young people will need to emerge from secondary education as creative agents capable of thinking big and harnessing the power of their imaginations.

PLTW is a way to foster that creativity and own the global economy of the future.

/opinion

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