Many big businesses, including those in the mil/aero market, are rallying behind government organizations to help advance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and to inspire current and future generations of students to pursue occupations in valuable STEM fields.
The STEM Education Coalition (http://www.stemedcoalition.org/) is working “aggressively to raise awareness about the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the U.S. to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century,” according to a spokesperson.
United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke—in his blog entry, entitled “STEM Jobs Help America Win the Future” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/14/stem-jobs-help-america-win-future)–explains that “STEM
workers are helping America win the future by generating new ideas, new companies, and new industries. Not surprisingly,” he continues, “President Obama has made STEM education a key priority of his administration, with an ambitious agenda to move American students to the top of the pack internationally in science and math achievement over the next decade.”
Locke goes on to cite some hair-raising and, it turns out, hotly contested figures provided in the U.S. Commerce Department’s July 14, 2011 report, “STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future.” (link: http://www.esa.doc.gov/Reports/stem-good-jobs-now-and-future)
According to the report:
- STEM workers are less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts.
- STEM workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy.
- In 2010, there were 7.6 million STEM workers in the United States, representing about 1 in 18 workers.
- STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations.
- STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts.
- More than two-thirds of STEM workers have at least a college degree, compared to less than one-third of non-STEM workers.
- STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations.
- In higher education, only about a third of bachelor’s degrees earned in the United States are in a STEM field, compared with approximately 53 percent of first university degrees earned in China, and 63 percent of those earned in Japan.
- Expanding the participation of students in the STEM fields–including girls, minorities, and students with disabilities–is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.
- Investments in basic research and the people who can make great discoveries with new ideas will help drive our technological innovation and global competitiveness.
This geek also is privy to much of the debate currently centering on STEM-related jobs and education in the U.S. Pundits in the mil/aero and other markets are hotly debating such issues as whether the U.S. will be able to maintain its position as world innovators or soon be surpassed by India, China, or other countries. This geek, for one, is optimistic about the future of STEM-related innovations and the continued health of STEM-related fields throughout the nation and the global; those in the mil/aero market, in particular, will continue to proactively invest in STEM education and a bright future for us all.