Welding: Wisconsin's Ultimate Rural STEM Pathway
Welding: Wisconsin's Ultimate Rural STEM Pathway is contextualizing math with hands-on exercises applicable to welding in order to better prepare students--both those at the high school and college level--for welding careers. Activities include professional development for high school career and technical education (CTE) and math instructors, educational materials development, welding lab equipment upgrades, and industry exploration. It provides learning communities among high school math and career and technical education instructors and college math and welding faculty, which will strengthen the quality of teaching in both the academic and technical courses. Innovative nature of integrating workforce preparation with retention in STEM disciplines is the main intellectual merit of the project.
As Wisconsin's number one producer of welding graduates in the state, NWTC is well-positioned to build a pipeline of students by intersecting math and welding curriculum. Upon successful implementation of the project in the pilot year, the Welding project aims to expand to additional rural high schools and disseminate best practices to the State's technical schools and, potentially, broader regional and/or national audiences for replication within the high-growth welding states. By the end of three years, the project aims to impact 560 undergraduate students, 162 pre-college students taking undergraduate courses, 11 college faculty, and at least 14 pre-college teachers. The contribution of the project towards workforce preparation is the main focus in terms of broader impacts.