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How ArcelorMittal Brings Partners Together to Build Our Future STEM Leaders

Chicago Ideas exists to give everyone access to the big ideas that inspire big change in our world, which is one of the many reasons we’re proud to partner with ArcelorMittal, a world-leading steel manufacturer supporting STEM education programs across the United States. They actively invest in the next generation of scientists and engineers through their sponsorship of the Chicago Ideas Youth program, which the company has supported since 2014.

 

Did you know that, according to the US Department of Commerce, jobs in STEM-related fields are growing at a significantly faster rate than jobs in other fields? With this, companies in the US are still reporting that it is difficult to fill these lucrative positions due to the lack of qualified workers in the industry. “The steel industry is evolving rapidly and the need for bright minds is greater than ever before. As a large portion of our workforce is retiring, we are seeking young scientists and engineers to bring our company to the next level and innovate the products of tomorrow,” said Amanda Scott, USA Corporate Responsibility Manager at ArcelorMittal, when asked why it is important now more than ever to invest in STEM education for our younger generations.

 

ArcelorMittal connects Chicago Ideas and mHub for a pre-Chicago Ideas Week Youth Lab.

One major way that ArcelorMittal has led the charge in combatting this discrepancy in jobs to fill vs. the amount of skilled workers on the market is through their willingness to facilitate meaningful connections between students and industries of opportunity, an effort that came to fruition in such an impactful way during the Youth Lab series leading up to Chicago Ideas Week. On Tuesday, October 9, ArcelorMittal brought three of their nonprofit partners together—mHub, Chicago Ideas, and Embarc—to orchestrate a hands-on experience for high-school aged youth students, offering them exposure to manufacturing and engineering.

 

mHub is Chicago’s first innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. The students toured the space, experienced 3D printing, took part in laser cutting, learned the ins and outs of manufacturing, and met with mHub’s members to learn more about their inventions and business models.

ChiTech Academy students hearing from one of mHub’s members about her invention.

The students walked away with a deeper understanding of how things get made, and also of their own capacity to create. When surveyed about their experience, the feedback was resoundingly positive. Each highlighted how great it felt to be given the opportunity to observe the manufacturing machines in action and to be given a safe space to learn and ask questions. When asked about her favorite part of the day, Kesia, an 11th grade student at ChiTech Academy, said, “getting to ask thought-provoking questions that furthered my understanding of everything.”

 

ChiTech Students at Chicago Ideas Week Lab at mHub, hosted by ArcelorMittal

When asked about what’s next for this industry, ArcelorMittal’s Amanda Scott shared that, “The next wave of manufacturing is upon us.” What better way to prepare for this exciting shift in technology than by empowering our next generation to lead—and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to do so. Thanks to ArcelorMittal, the students who joined us this October are already on the right track.

 

Vanessa M. Buenger is the content strategist at Chicago Ideas. She is passionate about storytelling and the power it has to change the world.

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