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      Survey shows students shying away from STEM careers due to risk of failure

      Recent research shows that teens and students are afraid to fail and take risks when it comes to their education, so they are shying away from jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.

      There is currently a shortage of skilled workers in those fields in our country. Governor Branstad has made a push for STEM education in Iowa, and even President Obama called for more training and education in his State of the Nation address.

      Despite the fear to fail, experts say students should give it a try, because that's what school is for. It's the time to try, learn and grow, so that you're ready for a career when the time comes.

      There are a lot of STEM career options right here in Southeast Iowa, and the Advanced Technology Department of Indian Hills offers a variety of programs from culinary arts to lasers and robotics to biotechnology. IHCC is doing all they can to educate students early on about the benefits of training and education.

      "We do a lot of outreach within our own community to ensure that, K-16, we have a system in place to encourage our students to go into these different areas," said Karen Swanson, Director of High School Programs at Indian Hills. "We want to make sure we have a highly qualified workforce - it's critical."

      Swanson said one of the biggest goals right now is to encourage more girls and women to STEM careers, and there has been an increase of females in those job positions over the last few years.

      Many people don't realize that STEM incorporates more than strictly math or strictly science-based careers, there is a lot of room in between and a lot of options for students with special skills.

      Swanson said one of the best things to do if you or your student is looking into a STEM career option is to talk with a high school counselor and arrange a tour of a local community college like Indian Hills to see the education and training available in your own backyard.

      There are several clubs and organizations to get involved with to get hands-on experience, such as the new STEM Up program at Indian Hills.