(North Mankato, MN) – South Central College’s Computer Integrated Machining program has been named a winner of the inaugural Siemens-Aspen Community College STEM Award by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (CEP) and the Siemens Foundation.
South Central College will receive an award of $50,000 and is among eight exceptional community college programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), recognized for providing outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and information technology. Half of this award will be allocated for further program development, and half will be allocated as scholarships to students, known as Siemens Technical Scholars.
“It is an honor to receive this prestigious award from the Aspen Institute,” said Dr. Annette Parker, president of South Central College. We know the funding associated with this award will provide tremendous opportunities to our students and manufacturers in our region.”
Overall, jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are projected to grow at almost double the rate of non-STEM occupations. Community colleges like South Central College are playing a huge role in working to meet this demand. More than half of all STEM jobs across the United States require no more than an associate’s degree and pay wages that average more than $50,000 annually.
“Community college STEM programs are a strong pathway to job security and financial success for many students — whether that means heading right into a great paying job or getting a more advanced degree,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “This award recognizes the colleges that provide an excellent STEM education and develop talent from every community.”
The Siemens-Aspen Community College STEM Award committee identified exemplary community college STEM programs, like the Computer Integrated Machining program at South Central College, that deliver exceptional training for jobs that require strong STEM technical skills, some college hands-on training, and a postsecondary credential below the four-year degree – known as middle-skill jobs – in areas ranging from advanced manufacturing and energy to information technology and healthcare.
As part of the award, South Central College will help select students in partnership with the Aspen Institute to be recognized as a Siemens Technical Scholar and to receive a scholarship of between $3,500 and $10,000 to continue their education or pay existing student loan debt. The Siemens Technical Scholars program recognizes an exceptional group of diverse students from across the country who demonstrates the rewarding careers and opportunity that result from completing an excellent STEM program. These Scholars will share their stories with other young adults to demonstrate the economic opportunity available in STEM middle-skill jobs.