Kevin Wilkins – Chief Technology Officer
iSECURE was pleased to host a group of High School students from the Edison Career and Technology High School, part of the Rochester City School District. They were here for a “Job Shadowing Day.” These students were part of the P-TECH (Pathways to Technology) program, which is a STEM focused curriculum on an accelerated schedule. P-TECH is set up to channel students directly from High School to Monroe Community College where they will essentially complete “Grades 13-14” and graduate with an Associate’s Degree.
Students in P-TECH are exposed to high level math and science as well as programming and robotics coursework. Students also complete English 1-3 by their sophomore year. While much emphasis is placed on the modern skills to be used in today’s high-tech workplace the heavy hit on Language and Communication is just as critical, and often left out of the news. Advanced reading and writing skills are amazingly critical to a student’s ability to learn independently while communicating their knowledge and ideas to others.
Another important aspect of the P-TECH program is their engagement of the business community. Students are taken on field trips to spend a day in the real world in a real business. “What is my future?” “Where do I want to work and what will I do?” “How am I ever going to use this stuff?” All of these questions can be answered.
The group visiting iSECURE met with the Marketing department, which deals with outreach activities to prospective customers. Our marketing department does fun things like organizing trade shows with food, drink, entertainment and informative presentations. We also took the students on a tour of the Security Operations Center where we discussed web security and installed server hardware. They even got to talk to our CEO and President to hear about what it might be like to run their own business.
This ability to break students out of a regular classroom and show them the outside world is a powerful tool to help motivate a student and define goals to achieve after they complete their formal education. Of the group we worked with, all were “put there by their parents.” One “wanted to be an artist and didn’t understand this technical stuff.” My responses to these students were: “This may be a challenge and technology might not be what you really want to do later but these are critical skills no matter what you decide – and everything you do here can only make you smarter. There is nothing wrong with being smarter!” I told our artist friend: “Art is half technology! Sure, there is inspiration. But the rest is actually BUILDING something. Understanding the process of using raw materials to express yourself is technology – think about all the aspects of science that go into something as simple as pottery. The composition of the clay, glazing, pigments, molding, and the techniques of firing to produce a ceramic come from millennia of technology.” One was almost ready to drop out of the P-TECH program but decided to stay after their visit.
We hope the students had as much fun as we did. It’s always nice to look into OUR future and see who might be working with us soon as a part of the iSECURE team. We encourage other business to get involved! We had a rewarding day with these young minds and look forward to our future participation in this great offering from a local high school.
Learn more about P-TECH at the Rochester City School District here – http://www.rcsdk12.org/ptech