Title: Career Pathways for STEM Technicians
Author(s): Dan Hull
Career Pathways for STEM Technicians is a new book offering a practical solution to America’s technician shortage in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Career Pathways for STEM Technicians was compiled by Dan Hull, Executive Director of the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC), with twenty two contributors, including eight chapters from different STEM technology fields. The book presents a win-win solution to two problems that are facing our nation:
1) we don’t have enough technicians to support continued technological innovation or to staff the organizations that could improve our country’s security and economic position in the world; and
2) we don’t have adequate educational opportunities for capable students who might be interested in entering rewarding careers as technicians.
STEM technicians are a crucial part of the technical workforce needed to maintain our national security and economic prosperity. This technical workforce is like a three-legged stool, consisting of scientists, engineers, and technicians; the leg of this stool in shortest supply is technicians who, according to Dan Hull are the “geniuses of the labs and masters of the equipment.” Dan is a Registered Professional Engineer with over 13 years of experience in laser engineering and management, and 30 years in technical education research and development.
The book is both a visionary document and a how-to manual. The solution proposed in the book is to create career pathways for STEM technicians in the existing 4000 STEM high schools that would inform, encourage, recruit, and prepare students to enter community college associate degree programs in emerging technologies. “We already have the tools and institutions in place to implement the proposed solution,” says Hull, “the dilemma is that not enough students are enrolling in emerging technology associate degree programs, and most STEM high schools are not attracting and serving the students who have the greatest potential to become the technicians we need.”