US Air Force programme set up to encourage STEM careers

The US Air Force has begun a programme to encourage young people to enter STEM careers from the Hill Air Force Base.

The LEGACY scheme (Leadership Experience Growing Apprenticeships Committed to Youth) aims to build interest in STEM careers among young learners through summer camps and apprenticeships. The internship and camps available aim to show how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) applies to a variety of situations and jobs.

LEGACY began at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. The programme aims to create a bigger pool of talent for future STEM experts in light of statistics showing a lack of young people pursuing STEM.

Kerry Reed, LEGACY program site lead for Hill AFB, said: “The primary goal of the program is to create a STEM pipeline by taking children and young adults ages 11-22 through the LEGACY program. The program exposes them at a young age to STEM subjects using fun and interesting hands-on experiments and projects, with combined interactive education and field trips.”

“The children see and experience how STEM principles are making a difference in their daily lives. Many programs have given children the opportunity to attend a week-long, STEM-related camp.”

“What makes LEGACY new and different is the program provides a pathway, year after year, for students to continue to learn and develop an interest, talent and career in a STEM field. The program involves lessons and skills that can help students throughout their lives, regardless of the path they choose.”

“Our goal is to give them exciting and new opportunities that lead to STEM-related degrees and eventually, STEM career paths. A child cannot grow up to be something that they don’t even know exists.”

The programme is divided into three phases, ‘Craftsman Camps’ for 11-15-year-olds offering free activities and teamwork with STEM, ‘Junior Apprentice’ for 16+-year-olds offering six-week paid internships, and ‘Apprentice’, a paid summer internship for college students. The programme aims to counter a predicted skills gap in STEM in the Air Force.

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