Akamai is led by the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators at University of California Observatories, in partnership with University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy and University of Hawai’i at Hilo
Getting Local Students into Local Jobs
Hawai‘i is a vital resource for advancing U.S. research, technology and national security in astronomy, but faces ongoing challenges in meeting workforce needs. Akamai supports the specific workforce needs that come with Hawai‘i observatories, by preparing local college students for jobs at observatories and their surrounding scientific and technical industry. Akamai has created a community of mentors who collaborate with Akamai staff to bring college students representing the full diversity of the state into observatory related careers.
What We Offer
The Akamai program and staff have over a decade of experience developing, researching, and refining workforce development programs. Akamai workforce development includes the following:
- Internships at observatories and the surrounding STEM industry
- Mentor workshop
- Mentor Council
- Research & development on workforce development
Our Focus on College Students Studying STEM
Akamai is based on a well-supported rationale that Hawai‘i’s workforce needs are attainable through a modest increase in retaining STEM undergraduates and broadening participation to include more Native Hawaiians, women, and other groups underrepresented in STEM. The program has a lengthy record of success, including long-term retention of >80% of Akamai undergraduate interns in a broad range of STEM degrees and careers.
Akamai’s history has shown that an investment in college students pursuing STEM can translate into a reliable pool of qualified employees 4-6 years later. This local situation is not an anomaly, small increases in STEM retention at a national level could meet a large fraction (~3/4) of U.S. STEM workforce needs. Retaining students can be accomplished with changes in the way STEM is taught and mentored. However, professional development is required to prepare scientists and engineers to be inclusive in the ways that they teach, train, and mentor.
Contrary to popular belief, college is not too late to turn the tide. Retention of STEM college Students is the “lowest-cost, fastest policy option to providing the STEM professionals the The US needs.” PCAST 2012