Your Future STEM career exploration program crucial for middle school students

by Sioux Falls Development Foundation
Published 06/07/2019

Middle school students are at a prime age for career exploration, researchers have found. According to the National Science Teachers Association, students ages 11-14 are more open to exploring the world around them, and thus, they are excited to learn about career fields that they may not have initially considered. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation has recently stepped in to address these eager students with their Your Future initiative.

Launched in May 2019, this 90-minute program connected nearly 300 students across three separate school districts to careers in the skilled trades and professional areas of advanced manufacturing and general construction industries. Students practiced their skills in proportions and chemistry while experimenting with materials such as sand, cement, water, and admixtures to create concrete. The materials were generously donated by Gage Brothers Concrete Products, Inc.

The Your Future program is designed to present job industries that are poised for growth and to help students understand the different pathways and career opportunities. Led by Denise Guzzetta and Sara Gillis of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, the program includes interactive discussion about educational pathways and real-world applications in industries like advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Your Future aligns industry-focused exposure with curriculum that the students are already learning in their science and math classrooms,” Guzzetta explains. “These children are excited to expand their awareness of jobs within career fields, and we’ve heard from many parents that they are delighted by the learning that’s taken place as well. We are eager to expand the program in the fall to cover more key industries.”