President Obama has always championed STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) as a way of the U.S. staying on the cutting edge of innovation. It is a sad commentary that there are so many STEM jobs that go unfilled because we do not have qualified applicants to fill them.
I was recently contacted by a representative of Maria Cardona, the co-chair of inSPIRE STEM USA, which is a “coalition of organizations, companies and leaders supportive of a two-part plan to address immigration and workforce development needs and improve our STEM education pipeline.” The video below will give you a good idea of what is at stake for this country if we don’t embrace a STEM education as the wave of the future. It is imperative that we find ways to close the divide that exists in schools and in the job market. If the U.S. is to remain competitive, we must produce more college graduates with degrees in engineering and computer science.
We have to make a concerted effort to change our old way of thinking and get with the program, as they would say. It is imperative that we prepare our young people for the jobs of the future — STEM careers. I might also add, these jobs are recession proof and can lead to entrepreneurship as well. I am particularly appealing to the black and Latino community to engage their children and their schools into making STEM education a priority.
According to inSPIRE STEM USA, STEM jobs are “expected to grow by 17 percent” from 2008 – 2018, compared to a 9.8 percent growth in non-STEM jobs. At that pace, the U.S. won’t be able to “produce enough workers to fill the jobs.” Here’s another sobering statistic from inSPIRE STEM USA, in 2008, just four percent of all bachelor’s degrees conferred, were in engineering, compared to 31 percent in China. As you can see, we have a lot of work to do.
inSPIRE STEM USA has a growing list of coalition members, including IBM, Caterpillar, Expedia Inc., Hands on Science Partnership, Microsoft and Intel.
Here’s Maria Cardona’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address: