The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) will grow 17 percent by 2018—nearly double the growth for non-STEM fields. By 2018, the U.S. will have more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs because there will not be enough qualified workers to fill them. STEM is where jobs are today and where the job growth will be in the future.
In the fall of 2014, HCA began the development of a new STEM diploma with a new elective course offering, Intro to STEM Topics. In this course, students were introduced to 3D design through Autodesk Inventor, designing a variety of 3D objects including an F1 race car model. Students then explored programming and robotics while designing and building robots to compete in a FTC style robotics challenge. The course finished with an electronics module with students building a variety of electronics projects using the Raspberry Pi, a credit card sized Linux computer. In the 2015 version of Intro to STEM Topics, students will print their race cars on our 3D printers and race them on our new 75′, electronically-timed track.
This course was designed to introduce students to STEM topics in preparation for the introduction of the PLTW Engineering curriculum. PLTW is the nation’s largest provider of K-12 STEM solutions with over 8,000 schools in the US using their curriculum. In August of 2015, when HCA began offering Introduction to Engineering Design, one of the foundational courses in the PLTW engineering track, it became the only parochial school in the Kansas City area offering the PLTW curriculum. HCA plans to add an additional PLTW course each year, including Principles of Engineering, Computer Science and Software Engineering as well as a selection of Biomedical Science offerings.