Our commitment to the community extends to working within Connecticut universities, community colleges and high schools to help overcome barriers to attracting some of the most innovative and creative students to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); areas critical to the future economic well being of our nation.
We have developed and direct three nationally recognized educational programs, funded by the National Science Foundation, The Connecticut College of Technology and its Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing as well as Connecticut Business and Industry Association. These programs are:
The Engineering Challenge for the 21st Century Program - designed to teach inner-city and underrepresented high school students those professional and life skills that they will need to survive, blended with technical writing and hands-on, team-based engineering/technology applications to excite them into pursuing STEM careers. We also work with these students to adapt their behaviors and to believe in themselves so that they can achieve success that they never imagined. Working with these young people has been an eye opener and a positive experience for all of our team. We constantly hear from students who had no college aspirations who have now graduated and successfully entered the professional workforce. Some have even received their PhDs and are now teaching.
The Life and Sustainable Living Program - specifically designed to help develop and retain a vibrant workforce for Connecticut's high tech companies. Beginning in the first week of January, university and community college engineering and technology students are brought together for a two-week training program during their winter intersession. They learn about human behaviors using the DISC behavioral model, research techniques, leadership, management and participation on highly effective teams, project planning and management, dealing with difficult people, networking, resume writing and Solidworks training. During the first week of the intersession, project sponsors form NASA, Homeland Security, Ct Children's Hospital, large manufacturing companies, and small start-ups, present real world problems regarding life support and sustainable living that need to be addressed. The students conceptualize, design, research and build prototypes to help improve society. Even through the economic downturn, our student participants have been readily hired up by employers.
The Engineering Challenge Summer Teachers Workshop - collaboration between The Birch Group, LLC, the Connecticut College of Technology and the US Coast Guard Academy. Teachers from throughout the United States and Territories come to the Coast Guard Academy to learn the techniques developed in both the Engineering Challenge and Life Support Programs so that they can introduce their experiences into their classrooms to get students excited about STEM.