Next-Generation Engineers (NGE) is a successful program Township HS District 214 runs to promote middle school students in the fields of STEM, Manufacturing, and Engineering. The program targets girls and underrepresented minorities and is entirely grant-funded and operational at five of six district high schools. GCAMP grants help support the NGE expansion programs at Elk Grove High School and John Hersey High School.
This provided a hands-on STEM learning experience for a total NGE program outreach of 500 students to be exposed to college and careers in Manufacturing, Engineering, and other STEM areas at an early age. NGE provides hands-on STEM education to 50 middle school students per class in an after-school setting each semester at the high school site. The curriculum challenges, inspires, and offers schools variety and flexibility in instruction. Students in grades 6-8 get rigorous and relevant experiences through activity, projects, and problem-based learning. They use industry technology to solve problems while gaining skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
NGE provides a solid foundation for further STEM learning in high school and beyond and aligns the curriculum to the district STEM College and Career Pathways. Within the career, clusters are pathways for Manufacturing, Engineering, and STEM.
Goals for the NGE program include:
- Increased interest in Manufacturing, Engineering, and STEM learning, and STEM career pathways
- Increased students enrolling in STEM career pathways in high school
Eighty-five percent of middle school students who have taken part in the program at Wheeling have chosen a STEM career pathway in high school. Additionally, students in the program have higher GPAs in high school than those who did not participate.