SAP continues to empower the youth, generate future leaders in technology, and create career pathways for students though the invested interest in STEM education.

On Tuesday, May 19, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) announced a new college and career pathway with, SAP, Berkeley Community College (BCC), and the Career Ladders Project. This partnership will give Skyline High School students a chance earn Associates Degrees in business systems, information technology while still in high school. This landmark partnership marks the first “9-14” college and career pathway for students in the East Bay, where students will not only build technical skills, and earn certifications; they will obtain workplace experience and receive mentorship from SAP employees.

Students spent the day attending game design classes and learning the ins and outs of what being a high school student at a community college is all about. At lunch they were able to mingle with SAP employees, ask questions, and learn about a day in the life working at SAP. Students were (of course!) excited to hear about SAP and to learn about our work with the NBA, 49ers, and Big Data. While some of the students were unsure of their future in computer science or other technical degrees, after speaking to our employees, the students understood the importance of technical degrees and how this program could positively impact their future. Additionally, students learned about opportunities available to employees without a technical degree, as we shared personal experiences working at SAP in a variety of areas, ranging from legal to marketing and human resources.

Following the lunch students attended, a career panel which featured Lisa Brown, Head of IT Services Enterprise Mobility SAPsv; Mary Clarke-Miller, Adjunct Faculty Lead, Animation and Game design Berkeley City College; and Tom Miller, Lead Technical Director Sets: The Good Dinosaur, Pixar. The major threads of the, discussion focused on the benefits of a specialized program like this which offers technical training which wasn’t available to them. All three careers also emphasized how necessary it is for them to work on teams.

The high demand for employees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math is steadily increasing, and this partnership is aimed at filling the gap between vacant jobs and students unable to receive early and proper education to enter this workforce. Tuesday was only the beginning of this partnership. SAP employees will have opportunities to mentor Skyline High students, be featured career speakers and even possibly have these students as interns. This partnership will give SAP the opportunity to connect with these young students early on in their education, and help to develop our technology leaders of the future

Media coverage: San Jose Mercury News | Community college degrees offered at Oakland’s Skyline High School

This story originally appeared on SAP Community Network.