The United States Air Force is putting a focus on building the science and technology workforce of the future. The Legacy Experience Growing Apprenticeships Committed to Youth (LEGACY) program is centered around giving students hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and math along with the mentorship they need to successfully move into STEM jobs in the future.
The program started three years ago at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The program intends to focus on preparing children for possible future personnel drops in STEM-related Air Force jobs.
“The primary goal of the program is to create a STEM pipeline by taking children and young adults ages 11-22 through the LEGACY program. The program exposes them at a young age to STEM subjects using fun and interesting hands-on experiments and projects, with combined interactive education and field trips. The children see and experience how STEM principles are making a difference in their daily lives,” said Hill AFB’s LEGACY program site lead Kerry Reed.
According to the U.S Department of Education, 16 percent of high school seniors are proficient in science and math subjects. The LEGACY program pushes to increase this percentage and make more students qualified to enter the STEM workforce in a variety of different fields.
The LEGACY program is broken down into three phases: Craftsman Camp, Junior Apprentice and Apprentice.
The Craftsman Camp is for participants ages 11-15 to spend time immersed in STEM. Through hands-on activities, the camp participants will increase their STEM literacy and gain confidence in their skills.
The Junior Apprentice is for high school students who are sophomores- seniors and at least 16-years-old. This phase allows students to work side-by-side with a STEM worker on the Air Force base as an intern. For six to eight weeks the student will get to see real-world research and work alongside someone who is a trained professional.
The Apprentice phase is the last of the sequence and is intended for college students. This focuses on giving students more freedom than the junior apprenticeship while still providing mentorship throughout the internship. The goal is to properly prepare students to join the STEM workforce after graduation.
Currently the Air Force bases participating in the LEGACY program are:
- Hill AFB
- Wright-Patterson AFB
- The United States Air Force Academy
- Robins AFB
- Eglin AFB
- Santa Rosa Florida
To sign you or your child up for a chance to enhance STEM literacy and go down a path to a STEM occupation, click this link!