OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – There’s a high demand right now for people to fill jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as “STEM.”

Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City is hoping to help prepare the next generation of STEM professionals.

Every year, Francis Tuttle hosts an engineering challenge for hundreds of local kids, hoping to help careers in STEM take off.

“Personally, I think STEM should be a required class because it’s fun,” said Arlan Cates, a 7th grader from Cashion. “It teaches you about science, biology, everything.”

On Friday, hundreds of sixth through ninth graders got hands on experience at Francis Tuttle building bottle rockets, gliders and more.

High schoolers, who take classes at Francis Tuttle, took the time to teach the kids the basics of what they’re learning.

“The basic coding problems, are working like a robot’s chemical reaction to rebuild itself and stuff like that,” said Edward Ma, a Francis Tuttle student. 

Some kids prepared projects to bring to the engineering challenge, including McKenna Mullings from Edmond, who wants to build real bridges one day.

“Because you get to build it and draw it out before you do it,” Mullings said.  “Like basically build a blueprint.”

Francis Tuttle leadership says that as the state’s economy grows, many of the best jobs available will be in STEM – and having fun is the first step for preparing the next generation.

“A lot of people don’t know how to love it,” said Eulayla Defeinini, a Francis Tuttle student. “They just do it and I think that you should just find a love for it. Everyone should love their job.”