President Obama launches “National Week at the Labs” President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Obama is launching a version of “take your child to work day” focused on America’s science laboratories instead of its corporate workspaces. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File/Thinkstock)
President Obama launches “National Week at the Labs”
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President Barack Obama is launching a version of "take your child to work day" that's focused on America's science laboratories instead of its corporate workspaces.
 
It's part of Obama's effort to encourage young people, especially girls and minorities, to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
 
More than 50 national labs in 20 states will open their doors to approximately 5,000 elementary, middle and high school students to help spark interest by exposing them to the scientists, engineers and lab employees who carry out important work and research at facilities in their communities.
 
The students, including those from communities aligned with Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, will participate in mentoring sessions, hands-on experiments and other activities. My Brother's Keeper is a public-private initiative started by President Obama to help boys and young men of color stay on the right path. The White House Council on Women and Girls is also involved.
 
"National Week at the Labs" coincides with February's end of Black History Month and the start of Women's History Month in March.
 
"It's an exciting time to think about how we're pulling all the children of our country into technology and STEM and the jobs of the future," Megan Smith, chief technology officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, told The Associated Press.
 
She said some 600,000 U.S. technology jobs, which pay significantly higher than the average salary, are currently unfilled.
 
Obama says it's good for the country when young people are excited about science.
 
"Whether it's setting foot on the moon, developing a vaccine for polio, inventing the Internet or building the world's strongest military, we've relied on innovative scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians to help us tackle the toughest challenges of our time," he told Popular Science magazine. "Being pro-science is the only way we make sure that America continues to lead the world."
 
Obama started the annual White House Science Fair because he said budding scientists should be celebrated as much as Super Bowl football teams. The administration is also more than halfway toward his goal of training 100,000 new math and science teachers by 2021, he said.
 
"We want the next game-changing industry or life-saving breakthrough to happen right here in the United States," he said.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Give two reasons why technology jobs are so important.
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (4)
  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    3/05/2016 - 10:11 p.m.

    Technology jobs are important because they help make great advances in the health of others, they play a part in the maintenance and strategy of the military, they assist new scientific discoveries, and much more. It's nice to see the government working to spark an interest in those who are looking into STEM related jobs because it will help with some of the things listed above and also provide jobs for the coming generations.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    3/07/2016 - 02:46 p.m.

    I think this is a great idea. I wouldn't personally visit a laboratory but it would be great for children that have an interest in science.

  • drews-pla
    3/07/2016 - 10:58 p.m.

    President Obama has recently introduced a new holiday with a focus on getting children interested in the field of science. Science Labs across the country are partnering with local schools for this new event. Students from elementary to high school are allowed to participate in hopes of finding their passion. President Obama goes on to talk about how society has relied on scientists to create innovative technology to improve the everyday lives of fellow Americans. Civic engagement is represented by Obama’s advocacy of science and encouraging kids to explore the field in order to see if it is right for them.

  • noahi-fel
    3/30/2016 - 02:40 p.m.

    Because they could improve the future and inspire more people

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