Working Centre looking to turn STEM into STEAM

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

The Working Centre recently launched a federally-funded program, STEM to STEAM, that aims to provide arts and humanities graduates the opportunity to find work within Waterloo’s evident technology sector.

The program began at the beginning of the month and hopes to re-introduce the importance of an arts education as it provides necessary critical thinking and interpersonal skills that are needed in any company to succeed.

The funding allows the Working Centre to provide 12 six-month internships. But there is a set of criteria the applicant must meet before they can set up a meeting. Such criteria include that the applicant must be between 15 and 30 years of age, and a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or of refugee status. They must be legally entitled to work in Canada and cannot be a recipient of employment insurance benefits.

Sarah Anderson, coordinator of the project, said the program is interactive with the applicant as the organization works to understand the goals of the individual.

“We don’t set up cookie cutter placements,” said Anderson.

It credits both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo in helping shape the direction of the program. It is also partnering with Communitech as it has the necessary connections needed with Waterloo Region’s tech sector. The program is still searching for applicants and employers, but it must begin by mid-January.

Nathan Stretch, another program coordinator, said it is important to use external resources similar to the Working Centre when looking for employment opportunities. Anderson agrees that searching through the job market alone can can lead to isolation or depression.

“It feels really exciting to open up doors. They don’t have to be alone. There’s really something valuable in that.”

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