STEM program to offer new opportunities

Published 9:52 am Monday, August 3, 2015

With the STEM Academy at Collins Career and Technical Center (CCTC), local high school juniors and seniors will have access to programs in six science and technology-related fields.

“Our hope is (students) will complete an associate degree either their junior or senior year,” said Andrea Zaph, principal of the STEM Academy at CCTC. “We were designated by the state of Ohio as a STEM school. We’re the first career technical center to have STEM in the state of Ohio.”

In order to become a STEM school, CCTC had to meet regulations and obtain letters of support from local partners.

The idea for opening a STEM Academy started with the center’s Project Lead the Way and then “morphed in a whole movement for project-based learning,” said Zaph.

Students in the STEM program will learn hands-on to get real world experience to prepare for a career.

“Our programs will all be project-based and will have work experience,” said Zaph. “I hope it will provide (students) with the knowledge and skills to be productive in all areas of life.”

The STEM program has two aims: to provide students with college credit while in high school and to prepare students for a career afterward.

Zaph believes the new program will provide opportunities for students and for the community. When CCTC was researching for the new program, they focused on what types of programs would be good for the community based upon job growth statistics and local industry.

The STEM program will focus on providing students with education in fields where they can find jobs locally and providing local employers with qualified employees.

“This is just going to make it easier for them,” said Zaph. “I think (the program) will let our community grow and help bring economic development to the community. We want them to be employees that people would want to have.”