MHTA — The MHTA Foundation’s Tech Experience Tours are giving students an opportunity to see the work of local science and tech companies and are encouraging them to pursue a STEM (science, technology engineering and math) career. By attending the MHTA Foundation’s Bids & Bytes Benefit and donating to the Foundation, you can help us grow this program and reach more students.
The Challenge: Only 16% of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers, according to the Department of Education. Students often are making decision about careers without having any real exposure to the opportunities available in high tech fields. Research consistently demonstrates the most effective encouragement for students to pursue a STEM career is the opportunity to meet and interact with a STEM professional.
The Solution: The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) and its Foundation provides a unique event for students interested in learning more about informational technology and the high tech business world through our Tech Experience Tours. These tours offer opportunities for students to see firsthand the cutting-edge work that goes on each day at large and small science & technology employers throughout Minnesota.
The Impact: Last spring, Kaitie Obryan, Math and Computer Science Teacher at Mounds View High School brought a group of 20 students from her computer science class to learn more about how innovation happens at Target. Mounds View will be offering the computer science class as an Advanced Placement course next year.
The Mounds View students said they found the visit very helpful, with one saying, “It’s good to see what we’re working on in school being used in real life and where it’s going in the future.”
“It is important for students to be able to see computing as a creative endeavor,” said Obryan. “Going to Target and talking to their technology team reinforced this idea for students — creativity and passion are essential to a career, especially a career in technology.
“It can be difficult for students to ‘see’ themselves as working in technology because they might not have much interaction with technology professionals in their lives. While students know what doctors do or teachers do, they do not necessarily see what professionals in the technology field do. This was a fantastic experience for students to interact personally with such professionals.”
Where help is needed: One of the major challenges for schools to participate in this program is the lack of funds to support transportation and feeding students off-campus. A number of schools in our two largest metro inner-city school districts have been forced to decline the offer of a tour due to a lack of funds. Providing a meal and underwriting transportation costs also allows greater flexibility in schedule for both the companies and the schools.
By participating in the September 13 MHTA Foundation Bids & Bytes Benefit, you and your organization can help us support the Foundation and this great program. The evening at the Aria Theater will provide attendees with C-suite leaders who will be available to discuss business with service providers and others looking to work with the biggest and strongest tech companies in Minnesota. As the evening progresses, those interested can bid on C-suite auctions and watch the results come in live at the event.
The event will also feature networking, a keynote speaker, and an opportunity to meet past MHTA Foundation STEM Scholars.
Make a difference and support the future success of Minnesota — and your organization — by participating in the benefit and donating to the MHTA Foundation.