North Point STEM pro­grams get a boost from Siemens

One of seven schools na­tion­ally se­lected for part­ner­ship

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­

North Point High School’s elec­tri­cal con­struc­tion pro­gram has got­ten a big boost af­ter be­ing se­lected for a part­ner­ship with the in­ter­na­tional elec­tron­ics and man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany Siemens AG.

Siemens an­nounced last month that North Point was one of seven U.S. schools that had been se­lected to be a Si- school, re­ceiv­ing a “train­ing wall” in­clud­ing elec­tri­cal me­ter sock­ets, load cen­ters, break­ers and surge prod­ucts, as well as a train­ing cur­ricu­lum and an­nual sem­i­nars.

“The elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing land­scape has changed dra- mat­i­cally even over the last 10 years, so we need to en­sure that the work­force of to­mor- row is pre­pared,” Barry Pow­ell, head of Siemens low volt­age and sys­tems, said in a news re­lease. “By pro­vid­ing schools with the lat­est in en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy, stu­dents can have a true hands-on ap­proach to learn­ing that we hope will help de­velop the next gen­er­a­tion of great Amer­i­can en­gi­neers.”

North Point’s elec­tri­cal con­struc­tion pro­gram is one of the school’s Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy and In­dus­try (STI) pro­grams, a three-year pro­gram which pre­pares stu­dents to en­ter into con­struc­tion and elec­tri­cian ap­pren­tice­ships or con­tinue on to a four-year col­lege pro­gram in elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing or con­struc­tion man­age­ment.

“The pro­gram is de­signed to give stu­dents a good founda- tion in any area in the elec­tri- cal in­dus­try they choose to go into,” said Keith Gas­con, North Point’s elec­tri­cal con­struc­tion teacher.

The elec­tri­cal con­struc­tion pro­gram ac­cepts 15 stu­dents per year into its pro­gram, Gas- con said, not­ing he was sur- prised to be con­tacted out of the blue to take part in the Siemens pro­gram.

“He said we came highly rec- om­mended, that he un­der­stood we had a very high-level pro­gram here,” he said.

Ju­nior Alexis Rye, 16, de­cided to fol­low in her fam­ily’s foot- steps when she en­rolled in the pro­gram.

“I ac­tu­ally joined the pro­gram be­cause my dad is an elec­tri- cian,” Rye said. “So I thought it would be good to fol­low in his foot­steps, see what it’s all about. I’m not sure what my ca­reer plans are yet, but I want to keep my op­tions open.”

Rye said she likes hands-on work, and said the skills she’s learned in the pro­gram would help even out­side of a ca­reer.

“I’ll be able to do things around my house,” Rye said. “I’ll know how it’s worked, how it’s wired. You get to know ev­ery­thing be­hind it. Even if I don’t use it, it’s still a great thing to have. Mr. Gas­con says, ‘Once you have a skill, no one can take it away from you.’”

Jaylen Wil­son, 16, is an­other ju­nior in the elec­tri­cal con­struc­tion pro­gram.

“I like to do hands-on work,” Wil­son said. “I’m not one to sit at a desk all day.”

Isa­iah Emond, 16, joined the pro­gram be­cause of his stepfa- ther, an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer in the mil­i­tar y.

“It’s a trade that makes a de­cent amount of money, and it’s a field that you’ll never get rid of,” said Ed­mond.

Ed­mond praised the part­ner­ship with Siemens.

“They gave us a lot of new prod­uct that we can use, so it will be a great ben­e­fit to learn more about it,” Ed­mond said.

Gas­con said the equip­ment do­nated by Siemens would re­tail for ap­prox­i­mately $8,000.

“It’s just like in the real world, what you might find in a fou­runit apart­ment build­ing,” he said.

Gas­con, teach­ing, said the tech­nol­ogy upgrade from Siemens is a huge ben­e­fit to his pro­gram.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about this,” he said. “I’ve al­ways wanted to work to­wards a part­ner­ship with a man­u­fac­turer/dis­trib­u­tor.”

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