Our organization, We Connect the Dots (WCTD) ,set out 6 years ago to challenge the norm—to create change in how we engage in teaching young adults the career opportunities in growing industries across Science, Technology, Engineering, (Digital) Arts and Math (STEAM). Our focus has been to engage with students in upper Middle School and High School, helping to create sparks of interest, and support in building the skills necessary to succeed in today’s evolving workforce. Automation and outsourcing have shifted workforce needs and standard educational institutions are struggling to keep pace. This results in students being unprepared to compete and being unaware of opportunities for successful, sometimes entirely new, career paths. Employers require resources who possess higher education and they have an expectation of greater skills when these individuals enter the workforce.
WCTD was founded to address gaps in the educational system by partnering with industry to ensure alignment with aptitudes that are necessary for entry-level career paths. We’ve created programs that support building skills in critical thinking, computational thinking, problem solving and collaboration through team building and real-world experience. If a student can’t imagine themselves in a career, they will not pursue the path to that career. Our programs impact over a thousand students each year, helping them to realize their full potential for entry into the workforce or continued education.
We help students to build an emotional connection to their future, where they are excited to learn, where they are building the foundational skills that can be utilized in any career path they take. WCTD provides them, at no cost, with resources and experience to build modern-day and future competencies and to do so with confidence. Our work is impacting change—enabling students to benefit from experiential learning programs that empower a path to internships that eventually lead to sustainable careers.
We have self-supported our nonprofit organization to-date by establishing a for-profit company designed as a part of our overall sustainability model. Nebula Academy (Laurie Carey Consulting, LLC) was founded to create social impact to support educators in teaching the skills necessary for today’s modern workforce. Through the work we do within schools and businesses, providing coaching training, professional development surrounding project-based learning and the integration of technology skills, we have been able to fund and provide necessary resources to sustain WCTD. This component of our educational ecosystem impacts thousands of students each year and helps teachers of the next generation of professionals to build sustainable skills for their students (both in primary and higher education and corporate learning) to lead to successful careers.
It is critical for business leaders to invest in our youth—in programs that enable current and future generations to build tangibly sustainable careers. Without the support of businesses, our work force will not maintain pace in knowing the technologies used in business today. A confident, highly-skilled workforce will lead to a more powerful, innovative future for industry, and to greater value for the individuals themselves and for businesses overall.
Innovation continues to disrupt our society in positive ways, enabling new ways to work and learn. However, the cost associated with engaging these new innovative education models continues to create gaps between communities that can afford to learn new skills and technologies and those that cannot. We choose to lead the change necessary to address the gap through rethinking how we might solve these complex problems. Through our research and partnership with industry, we help communities to better understand emerging and evolving career paths and the skills necessary to compete in a globally connected workforce.
Our upcoming Building STEAM Benefit is our opportunity to thank those that have supported us over the past 6 years. It is a forum to bring awareness to the importance of our mission, the value those that experience our programs gain, the value to the volunteers that engage with us, and the outcomes for our strategic industry partners.
Join us on July 12th as we re-introduce to you We Connect The Dots, at our new STEAM Research & Education Center in Syosset, NY. To learn more about the event and the work we are doing to impact communities, please visit our website at https://www.we-connect-the-dots.org/buildingsteambenefit.