In Towson, Stanley Black & Decker plants STEM seeds among high school students

Officials at Stanley Black & Decker greeted county high school students to their Towson facility on Friday, Dec. 14, but they hope it's not the last time they students come through the doors.

"You hope that in four years, five years, they remember this experience, and maybe they're hoping they can find an opportunity with us," said Lee McChesney, CFO of the Construction and Do It Yourself division at Stanley Black and Decker.

During presentations and a "shadowing" experience for the students, executives at Stanley Black & Decker stressed that the company's success and innovation is a product of its employees.

The Towson-based company collaborated with Junior Achievement of Central Maryland for the job shadowing at its Mylander Road training facility.

Stephen Subasic, vice president of human resources for the construction and DIY division, said the visit served two purposes for the company.

"We want to promote awareness around the STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and math) type careers that are available. So if the students come out today with a better understanding of the opportunities that are out there, then we've accomplished a lot of what we want to today," Subasic said.

"The other area of focus is on … the fact that there are technical positions and career opportunities right here in Towson," he said. "If we can build some enthusiasm for those and people can develop and have a prosperous career here in Towson, that's what we want to do."

Three-dozen students from New Town High School, Overlea High School, and the National Academy Foundation High School in Baltimore City spent the morning learning about the company and its mission.

Presentations began with a company overview from McChesney, and continued with presentations from leaders in the marketing and talent acquisition fields.

Then students got to enjoy a hands-on product demonstration and a display of product prototypes.

McChesney said that for him, the event was about fostering energy and interest in talented students. And Laree Siddiqui, director of education and outreach for JA Central Maryland, said the students in attendance are well suited to hear Stanley Black & Decker's message. The 10 New Town students, for instance, are enrolled in a construction track, Siddiqui said.

Spencer Bernhardt, 14, of White Marsh, is a freshman in the Academy of Finance at Overlea High, but hopes to go into engineering as a career.

The chance to learn about Stanley Black & Decker's products and their business model will hope both his ambitions and his academics at the Academy of Finance, he said.

The event was Stanley Black & Decker's first Junior Achievement job shadow event, though Siddiqui said the company has always been very supportive of the JA mission — and McChesney is on the Junior Achievement board. Both sides indicated that they hope to make the event an annual one.

"We're bringing different groups together, Siddiqui said. "I think the exchange of ideas that happens among the students is valuable — just like their opportunity to be in the workplace."

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