Uncovering and Engaging a Diverse Career and Technical Education Student Pipeline in Advanced Manufacturing
CAST partnered with Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) in a broad public-private initiative to “secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing.” This partnership is a result of CAST’s workforce development mandate to engage with and build a diverse workforce in emerging STEM fields, such as robotics, biofabrication, and hybrid electronics.
CAST collaborated with career and technical education schools, industry partners, and colleges to produce Biofab Explorer, a digital tool featuring modules that showcase the varied career pathways into these new industries. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of students pursuing careers in these nascent fields from under-represented populations and backgrounds.
As part of our project work, we created a set of co-design activities to understand how to best design a tool from the perspective of end-users—students. Specifically, the co-design process was framed to better understand students’ familiarity with STEM, their preferences around learning about new careers, and how they prioritize career attributes.
Through small group interactions, interviews, surveys, and observations, we found that students were uniformly familiar with and interested in STEM careers in general. The co-design process also revealed that in terms of career exploration, students prefer to watch videos, view job and internship listings, and read articles/listen to podcasts about careers. Students further identified that they were most interested in learning pragmatic information related to career preparation. For example, students wanted to know the educational requirements for acceptance into STEM-based post-secondary programs, daily career-based tasks, and expected salary for given career paths. CTE students also prioritized career attributes centered on their values. Students were motivated to pursue a career if it provided them feelings of accomplishment and if they were able to learn about new or innovative technology related to the biofabrication career field.
Publications & Products
Biofab Explorer is a free career guidance resource to attract and inspire students to the emerging field of biofabrication. The tool includes profiles of employees working in both the biotech and manufacturing sides of biofabrication, as well as case stories documenting the life-changing impact of biofabrication technology on the treatment of chronic diseases. It also includes a Teacher Guide to support the use of the modules in classrooms.
If you have questions about using this free resource, contact Alison Driscoll.
2018 – 2020
Sam Johnston, Ed.D.
For more information about this project, please email email@example.com.