Recruiting

The Greatest First-Generation: A Closer Look at STEM Premier's First-Gen Students

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Two months ago, we introduced you to STEM Premier’s First-Generation student population; students whose parents do not possess a college degree. When we first began delving into the data on our first-gen students, we were floored by what we found. It turns out that they are some of the most highly-engaged users on our platform; they display higher levels of profile completion and digital badge ownership. That fact has inspired us to strengthen our commitment to these oft-forgotten students. We hope that excites and inspires you as well.

But who exactly are these students? Well, there’s nearly 30,000 of them on STEM Premier, which means they comprise about 10% of our total student user population. They hail from across the U.S., from coast to coast. They span a diverse range of ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. They are a big part of America’s future workforce, and they’re ready to make their impact in a multitude of career fields.

Do they have what it takes? Absolutely. 2,000 of them are National Honor Society members. Thousands more are engaged with HOSA - Future Health Professionals, Project Lead The Way, and other organizations.

Here’s a few more stats on our first-gen population:

Top States

  • South Carolina

  • California

  • Texas

  • Florida

  • Georgia

Top Career Interests

  • Registered Nurses

  • Surgeons

  • Mechanical Engineers

  • Pediatricians

  • Biological Scientists

  • Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides

  • Computer Programmers

  • Aerospace Engineers

  • Biomedical Engineers

  • Electrical Engineers

Top College Interests

  • Clemson University

  • University of South Carolina

  • Stanford University

  • Coastal Carolina University

  • UCLA

Highest Organizational Engagement

  • National Honor Society

  • HOSA - Future Health Professionals

  • Project Lead The Way

  • Future Business Leaders of America

  • National Technical Honor Society

Does your college, company, or organization want to learn more about and connect with this special group of upcoming talent? Join us today.

Three Reasons We're Excited About Our New Partnership With K12, Inc.

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In August, we officially announced a $9 million strategic investment from K12 Inc., a nation-wide leader in online curriculum and school programs for students in pre-K through high school. This investment signals an incredible expansion of our mission to connect talented students everywhere with the colleges, businesses, and organizations which are seeking them.

Needless to say, we’re excited about this opportunity. But we shouldn’t be the only ones. Any organization - academic or professional - which relies on recruiting to keep their talent pipeline flowing should share our enthusiasm. Here’s why.

We share a mission

Like us, K12 believes that every person - and student - is unique, and seeks to provide online educational solutions tailor-made for each student’s needs and goals. K12 offers comprehensive public and private school experiences as well as individualized and supplemental course options. Its award-winning curriculum is comprised of core subjects, including foreign languages, as well as AP, honors, STEM, and dual-credit offerings.

“Attracting the investment of a national leader in educational technology,” says our CEO Casey Welch, “will provide us the opportunity to accelerate both of our companies’ missions.”

We share a vision of the future of workforce development

As a result of this partnership, the STEM Premier platform will be incorporated into K12’s nationwide Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in order to more successfully match its participants with in-demand jobs across the country.

Known as Destinations Career Academies, these K12-managed programs allow their students to pursue practical career-readiness coursework alongside their core classes which will prepare them for professional success across a variety of industries such as health sciences, information technology, agriculture, architecture, and construction. Extracurricular activities like work-based experiences and competitions allow students to further enhance their professional and academic development. As a result, thousands of students are earning their diplomas already well-prepared for their next step, whether it be a job, the military, or further education.

“Our strategic investment in STEM Premier will develop a robust talent pipeline of skilled workers empowered to thrive in the 21st century business environment,” says K12 Chairman & CEO Nate Davis.

We share an ever-growing online environment of talent

What this means for organizational users of STEM Premier  is that they will immediately gain access to even greater numbers of diverse students across the nation. This will be especially beneficial for industries which face severe skills gaps.

“Incorporating STEM Premier into our Destinations portfolio,” says Davis, “will prove to be a powerful force in matching students with hard-to-fill job opportunities in fields like healthcare, IT, construction and manufacturing.”

Those familiar with the “network effect” which makes social media platforms like Facebook so dynamic will understand the impact this will have on STEM Premier’s online environment. As more users join, the more powerful of a tool it becomes for everyone involved.

This investment will allow our user base to grow exponentially, providing organizations with the ability to connect, engage, and recruit individuals who would otherwise have gone unnoticed. For our student users, their opportunities will be vastly expanded as we continue to lower the barriers which once forced them into traditional - and outdated - avenues of educational and professional growth. It doesn’t matter if they’re from South Carolina, South Dakota or South Chicago. Everyone will have their chance to shine on STEM Premier.

We’re pumped about this. We hope you are too.  

Big Names in Industry Recognize Many Paths to Success

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For the past two decades, enrollment numbers at America’s universities have been steadily rising as high school graduates rush to obtain what they - and their parents - perceive as the ticket to a well-paying job: a four-year degree.

However, a four-year degree is not the only route to professional success, and some of the nation’s most prestigious employers are beginning to acknowledge this fact. It’s old news that Google has long shrugged its shoulders over college degrees when assessing applicants. Now many more are following their lead, including Apple, IBM, Bank of America, and Ernst & Young.

So why is this? Because it’s not necessarily the diploma they’re after; It’s the skill set they want.    

“Academic qualifications will still be taken into account and indeed remain an important consideration when assessing candidates as a whole, but will no longer act as a barrier to getting a foot in the door,” says Maggie Stilwell, Ernst and Young’s managing partner for talent.

In other words, as long as an applicant possesses the knowledge and skills necessary for success, they will be an attractive hire. It doesn’t matter whether those skills were learned in a university seminar, a technical college workshop, or in the applicant’s own home.  

Everyone’s path to success is unique. That’s the belief our virtual ecosystem is built on, and why opportunity-seekers utilize STEM Premier regardless of their professional journey. While a four-year degree is the goal of many of our users, many others are breaking away from this traditional path, and are represented by robotics prodigies, engineering aficionados, and promising young professionals.    

Our users are exposed to a multitude of opportunities, many of which they may have never even considered before. For example, many organizations are so desperate for certain technical skills and certifications that they have created programs for young employees to work for them while footing the bill for their education. As a result, the employee is earning not only a paycheck, but a degree as well!

The world’s educational landscape continues to shift. There’s no telling what “traditional” academic pathways will fall by the wayside and what will take their place.

That’s why we do what we do. Because on STEM Premier, all paths can lead to success.

South Carolina Ports Authority Holds First STEM Premier Signing Day

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The ink had just begun to dry on Anthony Richburg Jr.’s letter of intent when he donned the Carolina blue helmet and gave the cameras a bright smile along with two excited thumbs up.

No, he hadn’t just signed to play for the UNC Tarheels; rather, the promising 18-year-old had chosen to begin his professional career with The South Carolina Ports Authority.  

In its first-ever “Signing Day” on June 19, SPCA was proud to have landed the recent North Charleston High School graduate, a promising student they would have never found if not for his STEM Premier profile.

“We welcome Anthony Richburg to our team as the Port’s first hire from the STEM Premier partnership,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome, “and look forward to continuing to engage with local high schools on job opportunities at the Port and ways to prepare for a maritime industry career.”

The event was held - fittingly - at the The Union Pier Passenger Terminal in Downtown Charleston. Anthony was accompanied by his mother and stepfather as well as SPCA Vice President Barbara Melvin and Director Rusty Matthews, who made the decision to hire Anthony.

After initially discovering Anthony’s profile on STEM Premier, representatives from SPCA contacted him via the platform’s direct messaging tool. Through direct contact and networking opportunities facilitated with STEM Premier, SPCA and Anthony built a relationship which culminated in his signing day commitment in June.

Identifying and connecting with Anthony early on was vital in regards to his ultimate decision. That same type of engagement will be the future for SPCA’s recruitment efforts.

“The Ports Authority and greater maritime community employ more than 9,000 people locally, and we’re pleased to partner with STEM Premier to raise awareness of the Port among students in the Tri-County region as part of our recruitment strategy for the next generation of our workforce,” Newsome said.

“Partnering with proactive companies like SCPA,” says STEM Premier Co-Founder Casey Welch, “who understand and appreciate the importance of early engagement is vital in helping to identify, engage, and recruiting the future workforce while also retaining top talent from the Charleston area like Anthony.”

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Looking Closer: Student Interest in Social Sciences

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In recent posts, we shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student members. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the social sciences.

 Although the social sciences and humanities have recently been the object of some derision - especially amid the debate over how well U.S. universities are adequately preparing students for work in the modern economy - they are still extremely relevant. The social sciences are comprised of a variety of disciplines delving into the “softer” aspects of our world - as opposed to “hard” sciences such as physics, chemistry, or biology. These include cultural, sociological, and historical research areas.

 Here’s just a few examples of the social science occupations which have captured the attention of STEM Premier students:

  • Archaeologists
  • Economists
  • Historians
  • Geographers
  • Political Scientists
  • Anthropologists

Is your school or organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

 

STEM Premier Spotlight: Arizona

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Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 3,000+
  • Top College Interests: Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon University, Stanford University
  • Top Intended Majors: Nursing, Pre-Med, Computer Science

 Our next state spotlight takes us across the Grand Canyon for a closer look at the state of Arizona. Arizona is well-known for its tourism industry, but the state’s economy is much broader. Its utility, transportation, financial, and healthcare industries are also major components of the state’s economic foundation.  Arizona is also home to one of the nation’s top STEM Schools: BASIS Tucson North

 Arizona’s largest population of STEM Premier students is concentrated in the state capitol of Phoenix. Other hubs of students exist in Tucson - home of the University of Arizona, Flagstaff, and Yuma.

 Medical fields dominate the top occupational interests of Arizona’s students, and include surgeons, nursing, pediatrics, and physical therapy.

 ACT’s 2016 Condition of STEM Report on Arizona shows that overall STEM interest among the state’s students remains steady at 48%, which mirrors the national average. However, particular interest in the mathematics and computer science fields has increased, while medical and healthcare interest has sunk a bit.

 Learn more about STEM in Arizona by checking out ACT's full report.

STEM Premier Spotlight: Colorado

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Quick Facts:

  • STEM Premier Secondary-Level Students: 2,400+
  • Top College Interests: University Of Colorado - Boulder, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines
  • Top Intended Majors: Computer Science, Nursing, Bioengineering

Our next state spotlight takes us to the scenic Rocky Mountains for a closer look at the state of Colorado. Home to a bevy of federal military and scientific establishments including North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), The United States Air Force Academy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there’s quite a lot of action in the Centennial State.

Colorado’s largest concentrations of STEM Premier students are located in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Ft. Collins. Other notable areas of student presence include Grand Junction, Vail, La Junta, and Pueblo.

The top occupational interests of Colorado’s students include nursing, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and aeronautical engineering.

ACT’s 2016 Condition of STEM Report on Colorado has shown a slight decrease in overall STEM interest among the state’s students over the past year. This decrease seems to be caused by a shift of interest areas from the medical science and engineering disciplines to computer science and mathematics; not necessarily an unexpected shift in the modern information age. Interest in the medical sciences has lessened by 2% over the past five years and - at 35% - lags behind the national average of 41%. But - as mentioned above - interest in general science outpaces the national average by 3%, and interest in computer science and mathematics is ahead by 1% of the national average.

 Learn more about STEM in Colorado by checking out ACT's full report.

STEM Premier Reaches 250,000 Student Members

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October marks an important moment for us as we continue our mission to build relationships between students, schools, and businesses.

That’s because this October was the month that our 250,000th student member decided to place their trust - and their future - in STEM Premier. That number continues to grow as more and more students are discovering STEM Premier as the one place they can really showcase everything that makes them special

The importance of this milestone is apparent to anyone who has studied the rise of online networking platforms. The value of these platforms is subject to a phenomenon known the Network Effect, whereby a technology increases in value with every additional user. The more individuals who share a platform increase the amount of potential connections which can result. 

For STEM Premier, this means that schools and employers are quickly gaining access to larger and larger numbers of young people all over the country who will be future students and employees of theirs. Our excitement is compounded by the fact that our 250,000 student members come from all 50 U.S. states and represent a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, skills, talents, and expertise.

At the end of the day, 250,000 isn’t what we care about. It’s just a number. Rather, we care about what that number represents.  

It represents a quarter-million unique stories.

It represents a quarter-million powerful ambitions.

But most importantly, it represents a quarter-million bright futures.

As Soft Skills Become Rarer, STEM Premier Provides a Solution for Employers

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July was a high-water mark for employment as U.S. job openings hit a record 6.2 million. On the other hand, actual hiring remains sluggish as employers struggle to find qualified candidates who meet all the requirements of these jobs.

Because of this, firms have begun to forego finding candidates who completely match their needs. Not doing so may mean turning a four-week hiring process into a twelve-week process. The need for expediency and practicality has replaced the desire for the ideal candidate.

One solution companies are utilizing is to hire candidates whose personality and soft-skills are a good fit for their organization, even if their technical skills may be lacking. In-house training programs are, subsequently, on the rise.

What does this mean for your organization and STEM Premier? You need talent who can thrive in your organization, and today’s job market is providing organizations with unique challenges. Finding a job candidate with a lofty GPA isn’t that difficult. But finding a candidate who can handle difficult clients is mostly luck-of-the-draw.

Grade-point-averages, standardized test scores, and even resumes can only tell you so much about a potential employee. That’s why STEM Premier student profiles are designed to give schools and employers a much more comprehensive understanding of the human being who created it. Of course, test scores and GPAs are a part of a student’s profile. But that’s just the beginning.

Need an employee who can organize a presentation or written proposal? Students can upload academic or professional projects to their profile in several formats such as .PDF and .PPT.

Looking for someone who has that gift of gab? The video upload feature allows students to showcase performances, presentations, or even just a personal testimonial.

Desire an employee who can be relied on to manage their time effectively? Check out their academic, athletic, extracurricular, and philanthropic involvements, and see if they've developed this vital skill.

The bottom line is that you need employees who can connect with your organization’s values, mission, and culture. It’s not the technical skills that are becoming rarer; students are flocking to STEM disciplines in large numbers. It’s those soft-skills and intangibles that are becoming the difference-maker in the job hunt. The problem is that soft-skills are called that because, well, they aren’t exactly measurable.

STEM Premier can help you find that talent who would otherwise go unseen amidst a stack of resumes.

 

New College Spotlight: Charleston Southern University

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In the vibrant Carolina lowcountry resides the newest STEM Premier institution: Charleston Southern University.

Founded in 1964, CSU is a Christian liberal arts institution which combines a faith-based approach and a mission of strong academic excellence. Its 60+ degree programs - offered both at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as online - provide a wide range of academic and vocational options for its 3,600 students. The academic programs are complemented by a NCAA Division 1 athletics program and an excellent student support apparatus.

Jameson Willey, Enrollment Services Programmer, explains that CSU’s unique mission means recruiting a special kind of student. “CSU looks for students that view their education as a priority,” he says, “students that want to be challenged and do their best.”

CSU knows these students are out there. However, their biggest recruiting obstacle is getting the CSU brand in front of them, especially when Clemson, the University of South Carolina, and the College of Charleston are also competing for attention.

“Our biggest challenge is getting on the radar of students so they can begin to have their eyes opened to us as a viable option,” Jameson says. “While other institutions in our state certainly have a unique appeal, we believe we have an appeal that is just as unique. CSU offers a lot of what these other institutions offer and, perhaps more importantly, a lot of what they cannot offer.”

“STEM Premier will help us to connect on a more personal level with students, allowing us to incorporate our intimate campus environment into our recruiting practices.”

Charleston Southern University boasts an impressive 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio which drives a more personalized approach to each academic program designed to develop critical problem-solving and communication skills.

“Our goal,” Jameson declares, “is to connect with students that will thrive in our unique environment.”

When asked to describe the student experience is like at CSU, Jameson didn’t shy away!

“CSU students enjoy a campus experience like no other! They benefit from a wealth of resources to help them succeed and have fun while they do it. From free tutoring and learning resources to NCAA Division 1 athletics and expansive extracurricular activities, we pride ourselves on our student-focus built upon a faith-based foundation. Not to mention, we are located minutes from historic Charleston, South Carolina.”

Learn more about Charleston Southern University.

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Looking Closer: Student Interest in Environmental Sciences and Wildlife

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In prior blog posts, we’ve shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student users. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the environmental science and wildlife industries.

These industries generally utilize knowledge of the natural sciences in order to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste. More specifically, they may collect samples and data, analyze and determine threats to the environment, develop plans to address environmental issues, and execute environmental policy and procedures.  

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this industry to grow eleven percent by 2024, which is a faster clip than the overall average for all industries. This rapid growth can be attributed to heightened public interest in the environment as well as the increasing stress placed on the environment due to population growth.

According to Ecology Project International, some of the top schools for environmental sciences in the U.S. include Amherst College (MA), Colby College (ME), Colorado College, Montana State University, and Pomona College (CA).  

To get a better idea of some of the environmental science and wildlife occupations which STEM Premier students are interested in, here is a small sample:

  • Environmental Scientists
  • Environmental Inspectors
  • Park Rangers
  • Wildlife Technicians
  • Conservation Scientists
  • Wastewater Treatment Operators

Is your school or organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

How STEM Premier Works with Secondary Schools

STEM Premier serves as the connection between students, educational institutions, and employers - but you may have a question: How does STEM Premier bring students into the fold?

This is our favorite part of STEM Premier, because it means meeting students where they are - at their schools. We partner with secondary schools, school districts, and colleges across the country to bring their students onto the platform. 

Implementing STEM Premier not only allows students to begin building their digital portfolio, but also enables schools to follow their own students, view their profiles, get real-time data, and more. A school account on STEM Premier provides a virtual window into a school's student population - as well as a direct connection with current students and alumni.

Other ways a school account can help:

  • Get real-time data from their students based on their profile information
  • Add student opportunities such as scholarships and events
  • Create digital badges
  • View their student's profiles
  • Direct message/group message students
  • Follow alumni/communicate with alumni after they graduate

We also provide schools with on-site implementation and training sessions for staff and students. It goes without saying that this is a fun experience. Check out these pics of our team in action!

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Naturally, our work brings us face-to-face with many passionate and influential teachers, counselors, and administrators. It’s one of the best parts of our job.

Since partnering with schools and districts across the country, we've been honored to collaborate with several insightful and forward-thinking educators, and we will be highlighting these individuals in a series of future blog posts. All of them have implemented the STEM Premier platform in their schools and districts, and they have been creative catalysts for us as they’ve formulated innovative ways to bring our platform to their students. To be sure, they’ve definitely taught us more than we’ve taught them!

They will explain in their own words why implementing STEM Premier was a positive game-changer for their schools.

Learning from the Pros: Getting Social

When it comes to recruiting, collegiate coaches are constantly on the lookout for anything that can help them gain an edge over rivals and competitors.

With the NCAA keeping a close eye on phone calls, text messaging, and in-person visits, it should come as no surprise that programs across the country have taken to the internet to connect with recruits where they are: social media.

What is interesting about the NCAA’s regulation of social media communication is that, instead of tightening down on it - such as it’s done with texting - it has actually given coaches more freedom on the web. Prior to August 2016, coaches were allowed to private message recruits, but could not “publicize” their recruitment by “liking” or sharing a recruit’s posts. They are now allowed to do so.

Here’s the important part: The NCAA officially explained this rule change as being due to the impossible nature of constantly monitoring thousands of social media profiles. However, many believe it was mostly due in part to the fact that social media is by far the preferred medium of communication of high school athletes nowadays.

What makes STEM Premier a powerful tool is that combines the power of a social media platform and professional networking programs into one package. Organizational users can directly connect with prospective students and employees, providing the genuine sense that their talents are being recognized and pursued. This is a far cry from simply making students aware of an organization's opportunities through traditional methods such as job postings and billboards. 

Why does this matter? Because coaches know that if you want to land a recruit, you have to make them feel comfortable with your school. If one program is sending a recruit letters in the mail, while another is actively communicating with them online - where they post, tweet, like, share, and hashtag with their friends - guess which one has the advantage?

Your organization’s recruiting strategy should be no different. Times are changing, and the schools and businesses which simply rely on the “old-school” methods of college and jobs fairs and snail mail to attract talent are going to fall behind.

With STEM Premier,  not only can schools and businesses showcase their programs and opportunities for free via their STEM Premier profile, they can also directly link their profile from more "social" platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Google+. 

With nearly a quarter-million students on STEM Premier, organizations can take a page out of Nick Saban’s playbook and build relationships with these students where they are.

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Business and Finance

In recent posts, we shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student members. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the business and finance industry.

While the industry is not expected to grow quite as dramatically as other sectors - healthcare for instance - over the next decade, increased regulation will drive the demand for more accountants, auditors, and other types of financial analysts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that business and financial occupations will increase by about eight percent by 2024, adding more than 630,000 new jobs.

When it comes to talent for business, many of the nation’s promising young minds are on the STEM Premier platform. Thanks to our incredible partnership with FBLA-PBL (Future Business Leaders of America), student members are offered the FBLA Membership Digital Badge to proudly display on their profiles. FBLA also promotes STEM Premier to its student members as a way to professionally connect with schools and businesses who are looking for young people just like them.

To get a better idea of some of the business and finance occupations which STEM Premier students are interested, here is a small sample:

  • Budget Analysts
  • Cost Estimators
  • Loan Officers
  • Accountants
  • Financial Advisors

Is your school or organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

A Professional HUD: STEM Premier's Student Dashboard

If you’re an aircraft pilot, you are familiar with an HUD.

For everyone else, the acronym may be unfamiliar, but the concept shouldn’t be. An HUD, or Heads-Up Display, is an apparatus which presents important data to the user of a certain technology - a fighter jet, for example - without requiring them to take their eyes off of what’s in front of them.

When you’re flying at 800 miles per hour, you can imagine why that would be useful!

STEM Premier's Student Dashboard works in the same way.

Both at the secondary and collegiate level, students have a lot going on in their lives. They have tests to study for, homework to do, and projects to complete. And that just describes their academic lives! They also want to make time for friends, family, sports, hobbies, and other activities.

Simply put, students don’t have a lot of time to think about their academic and professional futures. Perhaps that’s why big state schools with strong brand-awareness never fail to attract their fair share of applicants. It could also explain why certain high-prestige professions, such as law and healthcare, dominate student interest surveys (on the 2015 CIRP Freshman Survey, an astounding 27.4% of incoming college freshman identified themselves as either pre-law or pre-med).

STEM Premier’s Student Dashboard is tailor-designed for each student on the STEM Premier platform. Using data from the user’s personal profile, the dashboard compiles and aggregates vital information for each student as they navigate their hectic lives at 800 mph - just like an HUD system!

When a student logs onto STEM Premier, their Dashboard is the first thing they see. Here’s what they’ll find:

They’ll find how their standardized test scores - such as their ACT score -  stack up against other users, which may prompt them to try for a higher score and broaden their opportunities.

They’ll find the “Explore Organizations” module, which will connect them with schools and businesses who match up well with their educational and career interests.

They’ll find financial aid opportunities powered by Redkite, which matches students to certain scholarship opportunities based on their STEM Premier profile information.  

In other words, STEM Premier students will have information placed at their fingertips which used to have taken hours of research to compile. That’s the whole point of an HUD. At STEM Premier, we don’t want students to have to take their eyes off the windshield to figure out where they’re going.

We want to help them know exactly where they’re headed. While still going full-throttle.

 

Learning From The Pros: Talent Evaluation Services

It’s no secret that college football has become big business. The stakes have grown higher. The stages and television audiences have grown larger. As a result, programs have been devoting larger amounts of resources into their operations in a relentless pursuit of a coveted national title.

As is true for any organization, the best way for a team to get on top - and stay on top - is to attract the best talent.

And to attract the best talent, you have to recruit the best talent. That’s where college coaches need some help. Some estimates have upwards of one million high school football players in the country. Given the sheer number of athletes, it is an impossible task to evaluate each one, and it is simply not practical to hire enough staff to keep tabs on them all.

That’s where talent evaluation and recruiting services come in. Since schools don’t have enough time and resources to scout an entire nation worth of prospects, they rely on services and experts to point the in the right direction.

Virtually unheard of in 1970’s and 80’s, these services have become so popular and relied upon as to become an industry in themselves. Rivals and Scout are now household terms. Tom Lemming’s Prep Football Report - an evaluation of the top 1200 prep football prospects each year - has come to be widely regarded as the “Bible of college football recruiting.”

The value of these services for college football programs lay in the countless hours of time saved and prospects reached. Before, college football coaches were forced to restrict their talent searches to the immediate surrounding area. Now, they can learn about prospect across the entire country and decide for themselves which ones are worth pursuing before they send coaches to evaluate them further.

This is exactly the same value proposition STEM Premier makes for schools, businesses, and organizations.

Using the same “star rating” system made popular by recruiting services like Rivals, STEM Premier comprehensively evaluates the credentials and accomplishments of high school students on our platform to provide educational institutions and other organizations with a game to develop their recruiting and talent pipeline strategy.

In fact, we will soon be releasing the 2017 edition of the annual STEM Premier Top 100 - the one hundred highest rated high school students in the country. Based on over thirty metrics in each student's profile, the Top 100 is a can't miss "who's who" of America's young talent. 

Sometimes teams aren't always simply looking for the best overall players. Sometimes they have specific position needs - at quarterback, for instance. Schools and organizations are the same way. STEM Premier is ready to help you address these needs as well. Organizations can use the advanced search features to find talent based on location, major, career interests, and much more. They can then follow these students in order to stay in touch and build a relationship - all from the comfort of their corporate office!

The best college football programs trust and rely on these services. Why shouldn’t your organization?

After all, there are millions of potential students and employees out there. You could probably use some help finding the best.

 

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Construction

In recent posts, we shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student members. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the construction industry.

Construction is an area primed to grow quickly over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in construction-related occupations will grow ten percent between 2014 and 2024, which outpaces the average growth for all occupations. In terms of jobs, this will mean an increase of approximately 700,000 from 6.5 million to 7.2 million.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on the policies of Donald Trump’s incoming administration in regards to infrastructure development. The President-Elect has previously announced plans to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure development; a package which would further increase the need for additional construction jobs. This is excellent news for trade and technical schools who offer educational programming poised to meet this new demand. 

It also makes organizations such as ACE Mentor Program - which seeks to connect high school students with professionals in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields - all the more vital. 

To get a better idea of some of the construction occupations which STEM Premier students are interested, here is a small sample:

  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Construction Equipment Operators
  • HAZMAT Removal Specialists
  • Plumbers

Is your school or organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.

Learning From The Pros: Taking it Slow

The regular season of the NCAA’s college football FBS division has drawn to a close, meaning that bowl season and the highly anticipated four-team playoff is just around the corner.

It’s no coincidence that the four teams in contention for the national championship - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington - all are led by coaches with reputations for being excellent recruiters. What most people - even avid fans - may not know is that there is more than one way to run a great recruiting program.

Today, we’re taking a look at University of Washington head coach Chris Petersen’s approach to building a competitive program.

Petersen’s resume speaks for itself. A two-time winner of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, he compiled an incredible 92-12 record at Boise State University and sent multiple players to the NFL. He took over a middling Washington football program in 2014, and has summarily placed the Huskies in serious national title contention for the first time since 1991.

When it comes to recruiting, Petersen takes a more unorthodox approach.

In an article for USA Today Sports, Petersen mused that "the whole recruiting thing is going down a really bad path. Recruiting's becoming such a bunch of hype and a bunch of stuff that makes it harder on everybody to do an honest, good job and find the best fit for both sides. And that's what it's all about."

Opposed to the flurry of scholarship offers which most programs push out to any prospect who seems promising, Petersen prefers a slower and more methodical approach. It’s even been described as “a snail’s pace.”

The philosophy behind the approach, which Petersen honed at Boise State - where landing top prospects is difficult - is that they don’t want to simply find good players. They want to find players who buy into their message. This means Washington’s coaches don’t just rely on watching highlight tapes. They also get to know their prospects and their personalities.

"It's easy to put the tape on and see a good player,” said Petersen to USA Today, “but the reason we did so well at Boise and had so many of those guys get drafted and be NFL players was because we got the right guys who bought into our message. We were able to develop them. Plus, we liked coaching them, they liked being coached by us."

In today’s professional hiring environment, not enough organizations place emphasis on methodically building a stable pipeline of talented prospects who are not only interested, but are also a good fit for the organization.

STEM Premier’s platform is built around the ability to build personal relationships with users, whether they are potential students, potential scholarship recipients, or potential colleagues. Our messaging system facilitates communication with both individuals and groups, and our ManageOpps™ feature allows organizations to post scholarship offers, events, and other opportunities for talent to become engaged with them.  

Now you know Chris Petersen’s recruiting strategy. What’s yours?

What History Can Teach Us About Job Searches

In the study of history, documents and artifacts which were produced during the period of time being studied are called “primary sources.”

Primary sources are considered crucial evidence for historians in regards to forming conclusions in their research. In fact, they are virtually mandatory. This is because primary sources shed light on exactly how people thought and lived. For example, when examining an 18th-century explorer’s journal, we know it’s not a matter of opinion where the explorer traveled, because he tells us himself. In short, primary sources eliminate guesswork and provide a clear picture of something that may have happened hundreds - or even thousands - of years ago.

When it comes to standing out in the crowd of aspiring professionals, too few job applicants - and employers as well - fail to recognize the benefit of utilizing “primary sources” as they dive headlong into the hiring process.  

Published articles, art portfolios, dance recital footage, websites created. All of these are potential primary sources which accurately document a job applicant’s talent and proficiency. As a student or job seeker, if you are not showing off your work, you may not be putting your best foot forward. As an employer or educational institution, if you are not reviewing - or even asking for - past work, you may not be ultimately choosing the best applicants for your organization.

But isn’t that what resumes are for?

Not anymore.  

Resumes are an excellent way of summarizing education, qualifications, and professional experience in an easily digestible format. But resumes will always be a matter of an applicant’s opinion of themselves. To borrow another term from historical research, they are “secondary sources.” It’s easy to embellish and exaggerate your qualifications on a resume. It’s much harder to do on camera or on a canvas.

Times have changed. The digital age and high-speed internet allows for the quick uploading of digital files which can then be easily disseminated, downloaded, and viewed. Those who are not taking advantage of this technology are failing to examine the primary sources. Remember, primary sources are mandatory for historians. Why shouldn’t they be for educational institutions and employers?

STEM Premier’s “Student Files” feature allows students to upload a wide variety of digital files to their profile. From PowerPoint presentations to PDFs, users can choose the documents and work which best shows off their talents. They can even choose files directly from their Dropbox or Google Drive accounts.

Talents and skills which are best captured as video can be uploaded with the “Videos” feature located near the top of every STEM Premier student’s profile.

Let’s keep revolutionizing the way we find talent. The world is too big for just resumes.

Looking Closer: Student Interest in Social Services

In recent posts, we shed some light on some of the career interests of STEM Premier student members. Now we’re delving deeper into select industries to see exactly what careers students have on their radar. Today, we’re looking at the area of community and social services.

Designed to serve individuals in their educational, family, and healthcare environments, community and social services is a career area projected to grow 10 percent by 2024 and adding about 257,700 jobs, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This projected growth is faster than the average for all occupations. Most new positions in this occupational group will be in the healthcare and social assistance industry due to the country’s aging population. Similar job growth is occurring in the healthcare and healthcare support fields.

Millennials and their younger generational peers seemingly place more professional value on service and social responsibility, which is good news for educational institutions and organizations seeking talent in this field. To get a better idea of how STEM Premier can help tap into this talent, you can see a few samples below of specific social service careers that STEM Premier students are interested in:

  • Addiction counselors
  • Social workers
  • Health educators
  • Mental health counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists

STEM Premier students are even interested in religious vocations such as priests, rabbis, and ministers.

Is your organization looking for these kinds of students? If so, join STEM Premier today and start connecting.