The FutureMaker Lab Program and mobile unit are a partnership between WSU Tech College and Goodwill Industries to introduce middle, high school, and GED seeking students to careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Participants will be introduced to Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and occupations that are in-demand in the state of Kansas and across the country. The program has grown since inception, and the team works each year to develop new stations to showcase more fields of study with the latest technology.
Activities offered in the program are based on the Kansas Department of Education’s curriculum standards for the following areas:
Teachers or administrators who schedule the FutureMaker Mobile Learning Lab at their schools are provided the opportunity to supplement their lessons in these content areas making learning “sticky,” and aiding in student retention and application of current curriculum.
Community event organizers who schedule the FutureMaker Mobile Learning Lab will find it an engaging way to offer hands-on career demonstrations for participants that add value to their event or camp.
In 2016, Sheree Utash Ed.D, President of WSU Tech, and Gayle Goetz, V.P. of Career Services/Director of NexStep Alliance at Goodwill Industries, were working together to solve a puzzle – the critical labor shortage in technical fields. The challenge was how to get more students to recognize the value in technical careers. Sheree and Gayle understood that simply telling potential students about the critical shortage of workers and creating great opportunities was not enough. They had to find a way to show students that technical careers have come a long way from the traditional image of vo-tech education.
A brainstorming session recorded on a napkin resulted in a bold plan. The result is the FutureMaker Mobile Learning Lab – a 60 foot truck and trailer that is packed with state-of-the-art technology designed to drive interest in technical education as a strong choice for high school and adult GED students. Now, three years later, the FutureMaker Lab Program continues to serve schools and community organizations across the state of Kansas to introduce students to the merits of technical programs of study using hands-on demonstrations.
Meet Our Team
“Enjoyed the program. A lot of the students enjoyed the 3D computer challenge the most. The information about job opportunities and how much money could be made in the industry was also enticing for the students.”
“The students loved the hands on experiences. They also learned about careers they didn’t even know existed.”
“Students loved this session! Those that did not attend were envious of the students that got to go!”
“The best comment of the day came from a student who does not engage in school very often. He said, ‘today when I was on the 3D computer, I felt I finally felt the school had something for me.'”