West Texas VA Health Care System
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
I was asked to do an article on S.T.E.M and its impact on VA hiring. After I stood there with a deer in the head light look I thought well maybe I would do a little research on the topic and then I could talk a little about student hiring at the West Texas VA health Care System.
First of all what is S.T.E.M. S.T.E.M. is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and STEM Schools focus on these subjects to help our nation's youth gain the skills required to succeed in today's challenging world. This includes the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, and drive advancements in science and technology. At the VA we use hiring flexibilities to ensure that S.T.E.M programs in the local community high schools and universities are being utilized. By ensuring we develop local programs within the community like pathways hiring (formerly Technical Career Field Interns and our Student Enrichment Employment Programs).
At the West Texas VA Health Care System we have developed a relationship with the community high schools and local community college to tap into the pool of students who take advantage of the S.T.E.M curriculum. We currently have increased student hiring from 1 to 2 in past years to seven in 2015. We have also increased the Intern Program from prior year(s), this program is specifically designed to attract individuals who have recently graduated from a college (that often supports S.T.E.M curriculum) to more technical occupations i.e. utility system operators, supply technicians, human resources specialists, accountants. After completing the requirement s of each of these programs the student/employee has the potential of becoming a permanent federal employee.