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Career Pathways

Connect2Next is a STEM career pathways educational program that cultivates the next generation to be these curious, critical thinkers who are eager to build STEM skills and solve problems.

We have developed high school programs that center on green careers in STEM industries, which allow utilities and other companies to recruit and inspire their future workforce – but our curriculum goes as low as upper elementary school. 

Why? Because the pipeline to STEM careers isn’t as steady as it used to be. STEM-focused occupations have grown 79% over the last three decades and are projected to grow over 11% by 2030. Yet, “only 20% of high school graduates are prepared for college-level course work in STEM majors.”*

From growing awareness of new career industries to connecting to actual workforce development, we have worked with a wide variety of organizations who want to get students and their families excited about STEM and the major role it plays in society and the economy.

*According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) as reported by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), July 2022.

Educational Points

Every NTC program is built around four educational points and supported by the curriculum connected to those points. The points vary to appropriately connect to different grade bands in the K-12 setting and align with state and national education standards, as well as provide specificity to each client’s message. As your industry priorities evolve, the flexibility of the educational point library allows your NTC program to share distinct information with your school communities.

Featured Programs

Connect2Next: STEM Challenge

Engaging students in grades 3-5 in a STEM challenge, this program follows fun characters with a big problem to solve. A key content focus is how the three C’s of STEM – creativity, collaboration and critical thinking—are used to apply STEM disciplines to solve problems. Students actively engage in developing solutions for the characters by using science, technology, engineering and math and the application of creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Supported by educational materials for student and educators, the live event shows STEM in action and encourages students to study STEM in the interest of solving local, regional and global problems.

Connect2Next (Grades 6-8)

Students in grades 6-8 participate in a STEM Career Pathways exploration. The live event starts with collecting responses of the students’ favorite things and connecting them to real-life STEM occupations. After reminding the audience of using the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math and the application of creativity, collaboration and critical thinking, we use student volunteers to brainstorm an invention, create a speed job interview session and more. The performance shows STEM in action, spreading awareness of all the opportunities that lie in the energy utility sector and encouraging students to study STEM in the interest of having a meaningful and successful career. It is supported by educational enrichment materials for students, additional lesson plans for teachers and gamification.

Connect2Next (Grades 9-10)

By high school, students have mostly identified as “good” or “bad” at STEM and move away from coursework that could continue to create a future in that direction. In fact many studies say that the window for girls’ interest in STEM is only 11-15 years old. Therefore early high school is a crucial time to focus on strong STEM career pathways. This program focuses on encouragement and awareness of the educational path needed to pursue exciting careers in STEM. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking are explored as well. Connect2Next for grades 9-10 often pairs a live event in school with custom videos of real STEM professionals and corresponding training for those professions, a digital portal with information and connection to internship and workshop information.

Connect2Next (Grades 11-12)

Numbers have declined in recent years for high school graduates entering post-secondary from 70-76% in the early 2000’s down to 66% in 2021 and 62% in 2022. Engaging meaningfully with the upper class students of high school is imperative to develop the diverse and robust workforce needed to bring all industries forward. At this stage of Connect2Next, NTC’s targeted outreach and recruitment specialties come into focus. Partnering with organizations that already provide thorough training, unique internship opportunities and certification programs, but lack a pipeline of students aware of and able to join them, our programs connect that missing piece at scale in schools throughout your territory.

In order to prepare our young workers with the skills necessary to perform their jobs, many companies and schools are turning to STEM workforce development programs to train them.

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