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”
March 02, 2016
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President Barack Obama is launching a version of "take your child to work day." It is focused on America's science laboratories. That is instead of its corporate workspaces.
It's part of Obama's effort to encourage young people, especially girls and minorities. The president wants more of them 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 students. The labs hope to help spark interest by exposing the students to the scientists, engineers and lab employees who carry out important work and research at facilities in their communities.
The students include some from communities aligned with Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative. They will participate in mentoring sessions. Those will include hands-on experiments and other activities. My Brother's Keeper is a public-private initiative. It was started by 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.
Obama's initiative is called "National Week at the Labs." It 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 told The Associated Press. She is chief technology officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.
She said some 600,000 U.S. technology jobs are unfilled. Those jobs pay significantly higher salaries.
Obama says it's good for the country when young people are excited about science.
"Being pro-science is the only way we make sure that America continues to lead the world," he told Popular Science magazine.
Obama started the annual White House Science Fair. 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. The goal is to reach that number 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.
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