Higher Education Integral For Preparing Seattle’s Tech Savvy Workforce
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For educational technology teacher Douglas Hall, higher education was integral for preparing tomorrow’s technologically savvy employees. After Hall earned a bachelor of science in math and physics at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire in 1994, he enrolled at City University in Seattle. Hall earned a master of science in educational technology in 2002 and he’s currently earning his career in technology endorsement, or CTE, which will help him further prepare students to be part of the competitive technological workforce.
Hall has worked in the Everett School District for 18 years and currently teaches physics and math at Everett High School. He has taught a number of technology-related courses to help students prepare for the competitive job market.
“There’s a big push in the Seattle area is for qualified job candidates. There’s currently a lack of talent for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) positions. I just finished an externship with Boeing. It was a chance to learn a lot about their company and I also learned that the Seattle area doesn’t have a shortage of jobs, but a shortage of skill. And in the next five years, 30-50 percent of Boeing’s workforce will be eligible for retirement.”
Seattle-based recruiter Systems Research Inc. (SRI) also notes that Seattle has a shortage of skilled STEM applicants. According to SRI Recruiting Manager Robb Callon, highly technical positions are the hottest hiring positions now. Companies are offering higher salaries for the positions that are harder to fill, such as aerospace and IT-centric positions for companies like Boeing, Amazon, Google and Facebook.
“There will be plenty of opportunities in STEM fields, but students need the necessary technology skills.”
Much of Hall’s classes are hybrids comprised of classroom learning and supplemental computer work.
“Any type of math curriculum will come with great program software for supplementing the curriculum to access textbook at home or do different tutorials. The software offers different tools to re-teach the material. It’s specific to the curriculum in the class.”
According to Hall, the curriculum is geared toward using computers.
“We’re starting to approach education with its real-life uses, for example, physics and engineering.”
Hall is required to take 150 hours of continuing education every five years, with 10 clock hours counting as one credit.
“Technology is changing from year to year – the technology that I learned 10 years ago is obsolete. My degree helped with the fundamentals and the building blocks and my district provides training to help me keep up with technology.”
Hall is enthusiastic for those students who are considering a technology-related degree.
“It’s a great idea. If you’re interested in a STEM field, you’ll be highly sought after when you join the workforce,” he stated.
Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.