We often hear an adult ask grade school students; "What do you want to do when you grow up?" The fact of the matter is, according to the MacArthur Foundation, close to 65 percent of elementary students will have jobs in the future that don't exist today. And while an interest in a particular vocation is important, being successful is not necessarily solely dependent on interest. At STEDY, we have a desire to help students reach their dreams, perhaps the most important thing we can do is enable their entrepreneurial skills. Since many of the jobs of tomorrow don't exist today, those students that have developed an entrepreneurial mindset will have more opportunities even if their career of interest doesn't work out. They will have the knowledge and ability to take concrete steps to do something and learn from the outcome. As enablers of entrepreneurship it is important for us to encourage students to make personal connections and help them become involved in face-to-face opportunities so they can meet potential mentors, partners, and experts. It has been said entrepreneurship is a team-sport.
Although STEDY's primary mission is to support students interested in career and technical education, don't assume this "vocational" intent is the same as it once was. The vocations of "yester-year," such as those in manufacturing, were considered to be low skilled, low pay and forever associated to be part of the industrial revolution. Today, vocations even those in manufacturing, require highly technical expertise. As a matter of fact, there are some that say we are entering a new industrial revolution as a result of the exponential growth in technology. The "industrial internet" will create a smarter factory floor connecting people and machines across society. This will lead to more efficient and faster collaboration reshaping global labor markets. The outdated perception of the dirty shop floor is now replaced by "clean rooms" yielding well paid careers for those that possess the hands-on skills and certifications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an industrial production manager in manufacturing is $92,470, while a mechanical engineer in manufacturing earns a median salary of $83,060.