Lisa Christman, Senior Director of Human Resources for The Rodon Group receives honors.
On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, the Bucks County Youth Council recognized Lisa Christman, Sr. Director of Human Resources for The Rodon Group and K’NEX Brands. The event was held to show appreciation for youth mentoring, training and partnerships in Bucks County.
The keynote speaker Simran Sidhu, Executive Director of the Youth Build Charter School in Philadelphia, highlighted the importance of open communication and putting the youth first. Her school serves over two hundred, 18-21 year old students who have failed to thrive in a traditional classroom setting. This transformational program helps students obtain job skills and a high school diploma. It is the largest youth build program in the country and boasts some impressive statistics including an 83% graduation rate and 96% job placement rate.
Here is an overview of the companies, organizations and individuals who were recognized as “Most Valuable Partners.”
Environmental Tectonics Corporation.
ETC is a global company specializing in developing training, testing and simulation environments for aerospace, materials and medical industries. They have offices in Europe, Asia, and Egypt. ETC, through its National Aerospace Training and Research Center (NASTAR), provides a full spectrum of programs to educate and enlighten both students and teachers. Some of The NASTAR® Center offerings include a summer space camp for students in grades 2 to 12; NASTAR EX, a curriculum developed to engage kids in real life science activities; professional development programs for teachers.
They have also partnered with K’NEX Brands. As mentioned on their website “The NASTAR Center has licensed K’NEX Brands to create the Energy, Motion & Aeronautics™ for its K’NEX® Education Middle School product line. The Energy, Motion & Aeronautics set helps students learn about scientific principles and how they fit within the continually expanding field of engineering. The NASTAR Center’s parent company, ETC and K’NEX Brands are both American small businesses headquartered in Bucks County, PA. Both companies are interested in promoting STEM education. Therefore, it was a logical step for the NASTAR Center to reach out to K’NEX Brands for this licensed product.”
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.
SEPTA has worked with the Bucks County Technical High School in Bristol, PA for over 20 years. They offer technical and training advice as well as the equipment needed to develop skills within the transportation academy. Students in their diesel program “Study basic mathematics, physics and operating principles of the diesel cycle. They become familiar with tools, test instrumentation and shop equipment. In the classroom and laboratory they learn engine disassembly and diagnosis using highly sophisticated test equipment. Expertise is developed in troubleshooting, repair, overhaul and tune-up of engines, cooling and electrical systems. Graduates can find wide employment opportunities or proceed to a college degree in diesel engineering.” SEPTA also provide teachers to the school’s post-secondary evening program and they mentor and hire graduates of both day and evening programs. SEPTA's input and influence insures the Buck County Technical High School’s program delivers relevant and state-of-the-art training to its students.
Robert Winkler, Mayor of Penndel Borough.
Mr. Winkler is committed to developing the job skills and work ethic of students in Lower Bucks County through participation in the Workforce Investment Board’s (WIB) 180 Initiative. This program partners with local Bucks County employers to offer job opportunities, training and mentorship to disadvantaged youth. The level of commitment in time and resources is up to the participating organization: from job-shadowing, to on-the-job training and full time employment.
Mayor Winkler has participated in the program since 2010 by offering training and workplace experience to students. These interns are offered 20-30 hours a week with the possibility of future full time employment. Indeed, one of the past interns now works full time for the borough. In addition to employment and training opportunities, Mr. Winkler commits time mentoring and counseling the students. “Taking time out of one’s busy day to assist youth in becoming more productive members of society is not an easy task. It takes patience, kindness, and most of all thoughtfulness. This says a lot about Mayor Winkler’s character.” He has made an important contribution to the Bucks County Youth Center.
Lisa Christman, Senior Director of Human Resources for The Rodon Group and K’NEX Brands.
Ms. Christman was nominated by the Bucks County Technical School for her contribution in supporting STEM education, training and employment. She founded the Bux-Mont Manufacturing Consortium, an organization whose goal is to establish communication and cooperation between area manufacturers and educators. Ms. Christman participates in career and technical school open house recruitment events and provides cooperative education and employment positions for these students. Her advocacy and leadership in the field of STEM education and training have made an important contribution to the development and refinement of curriculum as well as skills assessment.
All of the nominees for this Youth Council award know the importance of education, mentoring and skills development. They not only provide employment and training opportunities to the STEM education in Bucks County, but the building blocks they will need to lead productive lives. Without gaining the tools necessary in today’s technology driven economy, many students will not be able to thrive in the workforce. Bucks County businesses and educators know this all too well.
The future of STEM education
According to recent research, 67% of manufacturing companies are experiencing a shortage of qualified workers and more than half of these companies expect this shortage to increase. The movement throughout America today is to increase the participation of our youth in STEM education and skill building. Major corporations such as Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, as well as small companies, have taken up the challenge by developing camps, curriculum and other support to insure America’s youth are engaged and excited by opportunities in STEM. High schools are partnering with colleges and making advanced STEM education available to their students.
As the saying goes “A rising tide lifts all boats.” It will take both private and government resources to build the workforce of tomorrow. Taking on this challenge will insure the American workforce maintains a competitive advantage on the world stage.