Step Up invigorates teens to join the STEM field

Posted at 8:01 AM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 09:01:51-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Empowerment Network and Step Up teamed with Metropolitan Community Colleges Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology in Omaha to introduce STEM to inspired young teenagers.

These young teenagers, ages 14 and 15, hope to one day use their technology skills and knowledge to enter the workforce.

During their time at this program, they will have experimented with virtual reality and 3-D printing.

Program organizers said the goal of teaching youth STEM is to give them hands-on experience and make them excited about what they could be doing in the future.

Victoria Novak, Director of Workforce and IT Innovation, said the teens were working on learning virtual reality through a program called Z Space. "They are actually learning what it's like to be in a virtual world through different activities," said Novak.

According to MCC, the 70,000 square foot building serves most fields in STEM studies. There's a robotic lab, prototype lab, a virtual reality lab, and even a sheet metal lab where a different group is building a functional airplane.

"This a really good opportunity for them, just because it gets them out of their comfort zone, out of their whole classroom and job readiness training and kind of hands on now," said Gennesis Guzman, of the Boys and Girls Club of Midlands.

Guzman said she spoke to teens who told her that STEM is the future. "You have a generation that when you put a piece of technology in their hands, they automatically know what to do."

Organizers encourage teens to change the world with their knowledge, and use existing careers like medicine to redefine the workforce. Shacole Sanders, 14 years old, said even she wants to become a neonatal doctor, and use her technology skills to conduct extensive research on birth defects.

This STEM program runs for two weeks at a time during summer. Teens ages 14-21 can apply for Step Up online to participate in their programs.