Five students from Valencia College’s Respiratory Care program have been named 2015 Siemens Technical Scholars. The new scholarship, announced today by the Siemens Foundation and the Aspen Institute, recognizes students from exemplary community college programs that provide training for middle-skill STEM jobs—those jobs requiring less than a bachelor’s degree but more than a high school diploma in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Scholars were chosen from ten community colleges around the country that were former winners or finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Valencia was the first winner of the Aspen Prize in 2011-2012.
The following students were awarded scholarships of between $3,500 and $10,000 to continue their education or pay down their debt:
- Manuel Rivera
- Kara Schroeder
- Monica Nicholson
- Stephanie Pittman
- Amanda Capraro
By recognizing exceptional scholars pursuing middle-skill jobs, Siemens and Aspen hope to bridge the gap between projected shortages of skilled workers and the millions of high-demand jobs in healthcare, manufacturing, energy, and information technology.
“The shortage of qualified, tech-savvy workers threatens to become a choke point in the growth of businesses and our country’s economic competiveness,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of Siemens Foundation. “It’s important to make sure young adults understand the tremendous opportunities available thorough STEM middle-skill jobs. Community colleges are a critical player in that and in ensuring we get the right mix in the talent pipeline.”
“The programs attended by these remarkable scholars deliver first-rate preparation for jobs that employers are clamoring to fill and jobs that are a springboard to better economic opportunity,” said Joshua Wyner, executive director of Aspen’s Community College Excellence program.
Graduates of Valencia’s Associate in Science program in Respiratory Care earn starting salaries of approximately $44,500 a year, according to the latest data from the Florida Department of Education.