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[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

The first Blue Collar STEM Conference is being held Monday, 6 November 2017, in Baltimore, Md., USA, as a special event of the 2017 Maryland STEM Festival—and as a call to action to encourage more attention and awareness of blue-collar STEM.

You may not have heard the term “blue-collar STEM” (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) before, but if you’ve been involved in industry, you are well aware that many technical jobs don’t require an advanced degree, or even a typical four-year college degree. At the February 2017 meeting of the National Science Board (NSB), Board member Victor McCrary gave a working definition for blue-collar STEM as “The technical skills and infrastructure required for workers with less than a 4-year degree to contribute to and take full advantage of today’s economy” and proposed making it a focus of an NSB initiative.

Unfortunately, this area is often underrepresented in the broader STEM community, and a wide range of jobs are going unfilled, a fact at the roots of the 6 November conference. In additional to three different panel discussions, a fair has been arranged to give high school students, teachers and guidance counselors an opportunity to explore the many available jobs and career paths.

OSA Members looking to learn more about OSA’s Industry Programs, including the OSA Industry Development Associates (OIDA), can visit: http://www.osa.org/en-us/corporate_gateway/.