College & Career Readiness

This spring, I had the opportunity to attend a Lumity STEM Career Readiness event at Instituto del Progresso Latino. Long-time Lumity partner and volunteer, Miguel Guerra, met with 10 students who previously expressed interest in learning more about technology. Guerra is a Senior IT Network Engineer at Microsoft and spent the afternoon teaching the students about Wi-Fi mapping. Not only did Guerra teach the students about cutting edge technology, he also shared the struggles he faced earlier in life and how he learned to overcome obstacles. He allowed students to ask anything about his life and Guerra provided guidance on socio-emotional development and personal awareness. Because of Guerra’s STEM Talk training from Lumity, his message was direct, well-received and relevant for many of the students. Guerra’s advice: when you see someone doing something you like or are interested in, ask them how they got there. [caption id="attachment_429" align="alignnone" width="2128"]Miguel Guerra teaches Wi-Fi mapping to students Miguel Guerra shares his personal and professional story with students and teaches Wi-Fi mapping at Instituto del Progresso Latino.[/caption]

It may be hard to believe Lumity found a group of 30 high school students who are willing to trade their free Saturdays for the next 12 weeks. They are taking advantage of an opportunity to gain career skills, improve their communities and compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships. On Saturday, March 14, Lumity launched its STEM Saturdays program. Sponsored by Accenture and supported by volunteers from Allstate, Accenture and GE Capital, this program runs for 12 weeks on Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm. Students from local schools are teaming up to select a nonprofit or small business in their community that could use their help. Over the course of the 12 weeks, teams will assess the organization’s web presence, make a plan for improvement and implement that plan.

Last Friday, January 23rd, three Chicago companies graciously opened their doors to more than 60 students to demonstrate technology’s role in vastly different industries. STEM United groupAt United, students learned how technology is used to schedule flight attendants’ shifts, track airplane safety and maintenance work, and predict and communicate weather conditions to keep flights safe and on schedule. The students even tried their hand at the last part, working in groups to offer solutions to a potential flight delay due to a storm covering the southwest.

“To position yourself favorably for the jobs of the future, become someone who can look at problems in unorthodox ways, seeing different angles and finding workable solutions," David Tuffley wrote in an article on The Washington Post website. In the article published in early January, Tuffley writes about the jobs of the future…and how to get one. What is largest sector to get a shout out from Tuffley? Information technology. His list of jobs included analysts of many kinds, web and mobile application developers, and of course, robotic specialists. Tuffley’s other predictions are hardly surprising: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, school teachers, psychologists, financial advisors, engineers in all areas, and even sales reps and construction workers. But more importantly than job titles, Tuffley outlines what he calls “generic skills” and what are commonly called “soft skills” or social and emotional intelligence. These include:

“None of us made it on our own. Someone has given us that helpful nudge at some point. It’s important that you reach back and do the same for someone else," Miguel Guerra, Winner of the Daily Point of Light Award, said about why he makes mentoring and sharing his story with students a priority. January is National Mentoring Month and Lumity is taking the opportunity to highlight the value of mentoring and encourage more individuals to take the time to mentor a young person.