The Aspen Institute and the Siemens Foundation this week announced the first results of a new partnership focused on the projected shortages of skilled workers for high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, health care and information technology. Community colleges are key to meeting this demand, the two groups said. So the Siemens Foundation is funding an effort by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program to identify academic programs at two-year colleges that help students achieve success in "middle-skill" STEM fields.
This week Aspen said it has awarded scholarships of between $3,500 and $10,000 to current students or recent graduates of these programs. All the recipients attend or have attended community colleges Aspen has named as finalists for its prize for community college excellence. On average, 93 percent of graduates in the Aspen-identified STEM programs were placed in jobs within six months of graduation -- jobs that had a starting salary range of $32,760 to $82,144.