High demand, high opportunity for tech ed graduates

While many graduates struggle to find jobs after school, technology education students are having no problem. Schools across the country are facing a critical shortage of teachers, with the greatest need of the U.S. education system being highly qualified secondary STEM teachers.

The shortage of educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math, especially in small towns and urban areas, often results in teachers teaching out of their field of expertise.

STEM education has become an issue receiving national attention. The field has undergone considerable change in recent years due to the increased emphasis on developing engineering principles and technological literacy in young learners.

As the nation attempts to strengthen the country’s competitive position in the global economy, initiatives to improve STEM competencies through educational programs have increased. With the world at childrens' fingertips, today’s educators and administrators are rethinking the role of technology in the classroom.

As schools attempt to provide a quality STEM education, more students are required to take technology education courses at the elementary, junior high and high school levels but the number of educators prepared to teach in the field cannot meet the demand.

Up to date facilities and curriculum

To address the pending challenges associated with the teacher shortage, SUNY Oswego’s faculty plays an active role in recruiting new students into the technology education program.

The biggest draw to new students is the recently renovated facilities. SUNY Oswego has invested $1.8 million in order to provide students with an up-to-date curriculum as well as state of the art labs, equipment and facilities.

“We have capabilities, equipment and resources that are competitive nationally. That’s a positive thing and has really extended what our students can do,” said Dr. Mark Hardy, Department of Technology Chair. “It puts us ahead of where a lot of the school districts are, as far as resources that are available to the students, which leads to a better knowledge base that graduates take from the program.”

Partnering with local industry

The school plans to use the newly renovated facilities to increase partnerships in the community. Hardy hopes to expand experiential learning opportunities for students while providing services to local businesses.

“We are pushing to collaborate more with industry in the Central New York region,” said Hardy. “The emphasis is on trying to build better relationships with regional industries. It is hopefully an opportunity where we may be able to do some development work with businesses. With 3D printing capabilities, in an hour’s time, we can hand businesses a prototype that could take them days worth of machine work.”

Opportunities for graduates

The job outlook for tech ed graduates is optimistic. Some school districts have been unable to fill vacant technology positions and have been forced to hire a teacher out of their field of expertise or leave the position unfilled, which is dangerous for students and teachers alike.

Many of these schools, most of them in New York State, have contacted SUNY Oswego’s Department of Technology in order to recruit graduates for the unfilled positions, creating a high opportunity, high demand landscape for SUNY Oswego’s technology education graduates.