Getting High School Students Excited About STEM

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The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) has been looking for new and innovate ways to connect high school students with STEM education and workforce opportunities. In March 2019 PIC hosted its 1st ever Drone Education Showcase, where students from Belle Vernon Area, Franklin Regional and Greater Latrobe High Schools highlighted their projects created with the use of drone flying skills and video editing. Students also competed head to head in a drone obstacle course race where those with the fastest time received a monetary prize. After the showcase, students had the opportunity to take the Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification test which allows U.S residents to fly drones commercially for profit. The Drone Education Program, created thanks to First Energy: West Penn Power’s Christmas in July Award, is only the beginning of connecting high school students with STEM and the workforce.

This summer, one of the students who was a member of the Belle Vernon Area High School’s Drone Team, participated in the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board’s Experience Works! Plus Program. Jarrett Mosco, a 2019 graduate of Belle Vernon Area High School, completed an internship at Ductmate Industries in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Ductmate Industries is one of the largest HVAC system component manufactures in the world. This was a great opportunity as Jarrett was able to build relationships with many professionals in his area of interest while also gaining relevant work experience as he prepares for his post-secondary education. Jarrett plans to attend Penn State Behrend in Fall 2019 to major in Engineering.

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. recently received an In-School Youth Grant from the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board to hold the Drone Education Program for its 2nd annual year. In addition to Belle Vernon Area, Franklin Regional, and Greater Latrobe High Schools, three new schools will be participating in the program. Connellsville Area, Derry Area and Yough High Schools will round out the schools that will participate in the program. New to the program this year, a work experience component has been added so that students will gain a positive work experience while incorporating their knowledge of drones and video editing. PIC’s goal is to educate students and schools of the STEM job outlook in Western Pennsylvania while also providing information and opportunities for students to obtain a firsthand look of the different STEM industries in their backyard.

For more information on the Drone Education Program, please give us a call at 724-836-2600.