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BNL’s Scott Bronson “Next Gen High Tech Workforce force”
March 1, 2013 @ 12:00 am EST
Our speaker this morning was Ken White from Brookhaven National Labs. Ken is in charge of a unit that works with educational institutions that are outside of the lab. There are programs in place that encourages students to gear their learning to the sciences. We have been hearing a lot about the STEM programs. The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The number of jobs that are available to members of the workforce without those essential skills is very limited. There are four times more workers than jobs. On the other hand those people in the workforce that have those skills are in demand. The idea is to better match the workers skill sets to the jobs that are available.
Mr. White began his talk emphasizing his own basic understanding of technology through the efforts working with his father. His father was a general contractor in Vermont and routinely engineered the jobs he was working on. That experience propelled our speaker to get an education that would further his engineering knowledge. He reasons that putting our young people in an environment that demonstrates the possibilities made available through science and engineering we can direct a lot of youngster to high paying and rewarding careers.
The fields of science that have been explored at BNL over the years have ranged from nuclear science to medical technology. Energy production, transmission, and storage are all very much in the news and currently being researched at BNL. Nano science is being advanced at BNL. The ability to build machines that ultra small has many applications in just about every field of endeavor. High school students are being exposed to all these sciences.
The National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) that is nearing completion is a significant upgrade from the old light source facility. This unit is the largest of its kind in the world, and 10,000 times more powerful than the existing technology. NSLS promises to provide a leap in the research being done at BNL. It is capable of analyzing viruses and materials at the molecular level. Having that ability is key to new medical knowledge and new stronger lighter materials, and myriad other applications. The research equipment at the lab is available to scientists around the world free of charge as long as they can come up with a written research project that has been approved. The STEM students have the same availability to the facilities as if they were journeyman scientists.
BOCES is an educational unit that is helping fill some of those positions and they are working closely with Ken and BNL. They were represented in the room today. As long as we continue to fund forward-looking educational opportunities such as these examples, the future will be bright.