Inspire Students To Pursue STEM Pathways With Couragion’s Electrical Engineering Challenge
Throughout the summer, I have been blogging about Couragion’s new Engineering Challenges. The Engineering focused Challenges expand our company’s previously available Challenge portfolio which focuses on computer science, technology, and data analytics. Every Challenge teaches students career-specific skills and terminology and then asks students to complete in-app tasks that simulate actual “to dos” a person in the career would complete. The first Engineering Challenges focus on Manufacturing Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.
The Electrical Engineering Challenge enables students to build work-based learning skills in the areas of electrical systems, power and energy, renewable energy, engineering ethics, measurement, and data analysis. The Challenge asks students to take on the role of an Electrical Engineer who works in the renewable energy space – designing and building energy meters that help businesses and home owners to measure the power production of their solar panels and the energy usage in their buildings. In one task, for example, students must interpret the graphs of the power and energy measured by the meter and then help a customer understand how their solar panel system is performing and where they can reduce their energy consumption.
Including an Electrical Engineering Challenge in the Couragion app was critical because not only is this career in high demand, it is also a great fit for many students. For instance, this week, a search on Indeed.com yielded nearly 74,600 job openings in the field of Electrical Engineering within the United States. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 324,600 people currently employed as Electrical Engineers with this number growing at a rate of 7% from 2016 to 2026.
In addition, Couragion’s own data shows that most students who complete the Electrical Engineering Career Quest find it to be a ‘Best Fit’ – meaning the job aligns well to their interests, values, and desired work characteristics. In fact, for any student, regardless of race or gender - 64% receive a 'Best Fit'. Furthermore, 50% of students who journal about the career share positive sentiments in their verbatim feedback.
The top reasons why students received a 'Best Fit' for the Electrical Engineer are the ability to work in a lab; the inclusion of other engineering areas such as mechanical or environmental engineering; the higher starting salary; and the ability to work with a variety of technologies and task types. In reviewing the sentiment themes, the high salary and the technical/coding/electrical aspects of this job were mentioned as major likes for those with positive comments about the job. Those students who expressed positive sentiments also frequently mentioned liking the hands-on/building aspect of the job and that they perceived the job would be challenging. These examples illustrate students’ perceptions:
‘I love engineering, I would be good for this job!’ - Hispanic Female, 7th Grader
‘This quest is very interesting to me, it would be hard but I like that.’ - African American/Black Male, 9th Grader
‘I really like programming & I think doing that as well as actually making and soldering electrical components sounds really interesting.’ - White Female, 10th Grader
‘This looks really cool and sounds super fun and you'd make a great living out of it.’ - White Male, 6th Grader
I am thrilled that exposure to Engineering careers, along with an understanding of the job tasks, can help to inspire youth to pursue STEM careers. If you would like to learn more about how Challenges work, email us at email@example.com. Our Challenges and Career Quests are the perfect complement to CTE, CS, STEM, Engineering and career exploration curriculum for both middle and high school students.