Building America’s future: students, STEM, and the global economy

Keynote speaker, Vince Bertram, speaks to Chicago students about opportunities in STEM careers and engineering.


Image 1: Keynote speaker Vince Bertram and Greg Jones. Courtesy: Anisa Samarxhiu, CFE MediaDr. Vince Bertram, president of Project Lead the Way, began by telling the audience that it was his teachers that inspired him to get higher expectations for himself and to do more than he though he could. The Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS was built for students to show them all the opportunities available in careers that they may not have thought of. Bertram identified two key issues in the school system today: Too many people have low expectations for the students and that students have too low expectations of themselves. 

The STEM industry is a growing industry. Where there are 20 million people in America unemployed or underemployed; the unemployment rate in STEM is half the general U.S. unemployment rate. The major problem that the manufacturing jobs face is having one generation go into retirement and not have enough people trained to replace them. As technology is constantly changing, the key to job security is acquiring the job skills to be able to keep up with the global economy and constant innovation. Learning to collaborate, problem solve, and thinking critically are the skills that the new generation will need to keep up the constantly changing technology. By debunking the myth that one needs a 4 year bachelors degree to find a job, Bertram offered an alternative of going to a 2 year school and getting a technical degree, citing “a better return on your investment.” About 150 students present at the keynote session. 

Image 2: Students stream into Smartforce Conference at IMTS. Courtesy: Anisa Samarxhiu, CFE Media

Doctor Bertram ended by reading to his audience an email he got from Jesus, a high school junior from Englewood, Calif. Jesus expressed his interest in robotics and asked Bertram if there was a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) in his neighborhood. Bertram was happy to report that because of this student, and his initiative to take control of his education, there was one a PLTW program active at his school. With 13,000 students registered for the Smartforce Student Summit, the Association for Manufacturing hopes to inspire these Chicago students to do the same. 

Greg Jones, vice president of Smartforce development, added that 200 students signed up on Sunday, alone, the day before opening day of IMTS. 

­- Anisa Samarxhiu, Digital Project Manager, CFE Media,  

For more information, see 

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Controller programming; Safety networks; Enclosure design; Power quality; Safety integrity levels; Increasing process efficiency
Additive manufacturing benefits; HMI and sensor tips; System integrator advice; Innovations from the industry
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me