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STEAM competition encourages Fishers students to join workforce

Recruiting students for the workforce

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Students at Fishers High School are participating in an educational event aimed at providing them with relevant learning experiences in preparation for entering the workforce.

Duke Energy Foundation and POWER Engineers gave Fishers High School grant money to host a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) competition with the goal of encouraging students to enter their workforce.

The concept of the competition is centered around the students’ use of technology to collaborate, develop and present solutions to a “mock scenario” on the school’s campus. More than a dozen students are split into three teams to design an electrical transmission station.

“I’m really excited because it seems like everyone wants to be here which I also like,” said senior Emma Chase. “It’s not like a classroom setting where some people are here just for the credit like everybody actually applied and wants to be here.”

The event kicked off Wednesday. The students will continue to work on their projects for another eight weeks before creating presentations using various technology, including drone photography and 3D printing.

“I think it’s really cool and engaging for a lot of students to get a firsthand experience into the engineering field and just figuring out how the design process is,” senior Colin McKnight said.

Teams spent time Wednesday strategically looking for a location to design the transmission station on the school’s campus.

Many electric utility companies are reporting that the bulk of their current workforce will be aging out within the next five to 10 years.

Duke Energy’s government and community relations manager Mark LaBarr told News 8 that the majority of their employees are retiring.

“We’re in need of engineers, line workers, customer service representatives and so it’s really pretty broad. We need a pipeline of young students,” LaBarr said.

The STEAM competition will last for several weeks then each will present their design in April. The winning team will receive a virtual reality headset and a monetary prize.

“This is a great experience for anyone who wants to go into an electrical field or work with professionals and getting into bigger areas of work and it gives you an idea of what an actual work place would be like,” said junior Jonied Khan.

LaBarr said this is their innagural STEAM competition and would like to bring it to other high schools in the near future.