As technology becomes increasingly embedded in every sector, companies around the country are struggling to find qualified workers to fill new roles. While three-quarters of the fastest growing occupations require significant STEM education, only 19 percent of today’s college students graduate with a STEM major. Charles County is addressing this nationwide STEM skills gap head on, with a clear focus on STEM subjects in schools and additional resources for the next generation of tech workers, like The James E. Richmond Science Center.
Adjoining St. Charles High School, The James E. Richmond Science Center, founded in 2014, is a community resource available to students at Charles County Public Schools free of charge. The Science Center supplements what students are already learning in classrooms, empowers visiting students to be active participants in their STEM learning, and encourages our future tech leaders to continue exploring science and technology pathways.
The Center was envisioned by former Superintendent James E. Richmond, who understood the need for STEM subjects in local schools to ultimately prepare Charles County students for an array of employment opportunities in the modern tech economy.
“His goal was always to bring the most cutting edge experiences and technology to the students of Charles County, and this Center was a continuation of those efforts,” explains Monique Wilson, Director of the Science Center. “Science with us is dynamic.”
The James E. Richmond Science Center is just one of many resources in Charles County preparing the technology workforce of the future. Compared to counties nationwide with populations of similar size, Charles County has been recognized among the “most digitally advanced counties” for nine consecutive years.
Along with the Science Center and a commitment to STEM education that will help produce the tech leaders of tomorrow, Charles County provides area tech companies with a highly educated, local workforce for its growing technology industry. The County is home to talent specializing in advanced technology, IT, engineering services, design, fabrication, and rapid prototyping.
As companies increasingly move towards virtual workplaces, digital transactions and teleworking, Charles County offers a strategic location in the DC-Baltimore-Richmond corridor and access to a potential labor force of more than 1.83 million within a 45-minute commute. In addition, average office lease rates in the County are nearly 50 percent lower than in the DC Metro.
Tech companies, both large and small, are already investing in Charles County, including protoCAD, a developer of rapid prototypes with commercial and government sector clients; OutsourceIT, one of the largest, privately held managed cloud service providers in the country; and Advanced Vision Systems Inc., a consulting firm that provides a variety of engineering and technical services for high tech firms.
Because the state of Maryland boasts the fourth highest density of tech employees in the U.S., Charles County is well-positioned to make a place for itself in the booming industry. To learn more about the Charles County’s growing technology industry and how to get involved, visit our website, or contact Debra Jones, Chief of Business Development.