Students, Professionals Meet Up At Annual STEM Wars Event

Nearly 900 students from every Chautauqua County school district, including some home-schooled groups, met with representatives from 30 local businesses, groups and organizations at Jamestown Community College’s physical education complex for the the sixth annual STEM Wars and Career Fair outreach event Thursday. P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti

Chautauqua County’s manufacturing industry is hiring, and, thankfully, there is a strong contingent of area students who are learning the skills necessary to earn gainful employment in their own backyard.

Nearly 900 students from every Chautauqua County school district, including some home-schooled groups, met at Jamestown Community College’s physical education complex Thursday to take part in the sixth annual STEM Wars and Career Fair outreach event.

The yearly outreach event connects Chautauqua County students and manufacturers in an engaging manner. Students had the opportunity to compete in technology events, on-site team building and leadership skills competitions, and communicate with many local employers looking for students with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills.

Those students who didn’t compete could still take advantage of the business fair, on-site competitions and observe other students competing in technology events with the intent to create an interest to participate in future years.

Jehuu Caulcrick, Dream It Do It WNY’s Chautauqua County coordinator, said the event serves to bridge the gap between students who are becoming college- and career-ready and employers in the area — with the intent of retaining as many local students as possible.

“This gives the kids a platform and opens them to the perspective of advanced manufacturing,” Caulcrick said. “This is definitely something that has grown each year, and it certainly excites us. The manufacturers know they need to fill these positions and the way to do that is to be a part of events like this and engage with students. They can put a face with a name they might see come across their desk on a resume someday. One of the best things about this event is nobody gets left out.”

Also in attendance was Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, who thanked the students for their participation and informed them of the job opportunities available in the area.

“I just visited about 120 businesses in Chautauqua County, and I can tell you that what you’re doing here is exactly what our companies need right now,” Borrello said. “Not only do (these skills) afford you a career that is truly, personally gratifying, but there are great, paying jobs available right here, right now. There are currently 767 local positions open at businesses right here and they need people like you to fill them.”

STEM Wars is hosted by JCC and run by Dream It Do It WNY, NYSTEEA, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, and the Chautauqua County Education Coalition. Sponsors for the event include Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant, National Grid, Truck-Lite and this year’s lead sponsor: Matco Tools.

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