SARASOTA COUNTY - Recently President Obama called for more schools to take on new initiatives in science, technology, engineering, and math. Right here in our backyard some schools are way ahead of the curve.
The program covers everything from robots and 3D printers to interactive hand-held devices and live surgeries. "To stay competitive with the rest of the world we need to have our kids be competitive. We need to give them avenues to strengthen their science and their math," Says Venice High School Medical Academy teacher Carol Lash.
In its second year at Venice High, the STEM program -- which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math -- is looking to help educate students better for many jobs the country and our area needs, first hand. "With our programs through STEM we try to give them hands on lessons, not just with a text book."
Sophomore Klaudia Patriti is enrolled in the medical academy and says it's changing how she feels about the field. "It is a lot different than you picture. When you watch it on TV it is different then when you see things in person."
"When I got to this school I jumped right into the STEM program because it is exactly what I wanted to do." As a freshman Nathan Phillips is already studying what he wants to do for a living in the engineering academy. Working with 3D animation and computer programming. "If I get certified for the Solid Works program I could jump right into a job."
From those who could utilize the new technology in the medical field to those who could create the machines says Engineering Academy teach Larry Shannon. "There are a lot of opportunities out there and that's what we really try to get across to them. They can really take advantage of learning in here and being prepared for a job interview."
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has helped bring in some of the tools needed in the classrooms.$2.2 million worth so far as part of a five year commitment. A part of their goal says Greg Luberecki is to help local companies and local students thrive while staying right here. "Skilled manufacturing there are a lot of opportunities and businesses could really grow right here in our community if they could just get the talent they need."
A new way of bridging the demand one hands on lesson at a time. "Without it there is not going to be success. Those careers are highly dependent on the those critical thinking skills we develop in those classes," says Lash.
STEM events are being held during the week at schools which offer the courses.