SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Col. Bill Leady, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division, joined engineers from the Corps' Sacramento District, officials from state and local agencies and business leaders at Kit Carson Middle School's career fair here April 15.

The jobs varied widely, but the message was clear and unified: Students must stay in school and be rigorous in their work to get jobs in the future. Corps engineers encouraged the students to pursue classes in science, technology, engineering and math to be on track for a college degree in engineering.

The career fair, now in its second year at the school, falls in line with the Corps' national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Awareness Program, the goal of which is to stimulate interest and academic achievement in science, engineering and math among underrepresented kindergarten through high school students. "The Corps views these students as our legacy, not just for us but for America," said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "They represent our nation's next great leaders in technology."

Leady and Sacramento District's Norbert Suter spoke to more than 20 gifted and talented students from the seventh and eighth grades, describing their career paths and the differences among engineering disciplines. One student asked if there were going to be jobs in engineering in the future.

"Each year, our country comes up short on the number of engineers we need," said Leady, a mechanical engineer. "We are building our future workforce right here, with you, which it is why it is so important for you to stay in school and put in the extra time on your homework."

Students asked Leady several questions about his duty in Iraq, and one student asked about his feelings about being in the Army. "I do it for the teamwork, for the feeling of being on one team," said Leady, who completed two tours in Iraq. "My engineering background helped me develop a problem solving attitude in the Army, and I am proud to serve my country."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16