America Fails Promoting STEM Careers
President Barrack Obama’s launch of the first-ever Maker Fair in 2014 paved the way towards access of students, entrepreneurs and Americans to new technologies.
This initiative enabled them to design, build and manufacture. In fact, the nation celebrates the National Week of Making from June 17 to June 23 which stresses the vital role of developing creative solutions to the pressing challenges in our nation.
‘Making’ refers to the traditional and contemporary outlets of creativity – from wood working, drawing, carpentry and as well as application of digital fabrication tools such as computer programs, digital printer and robotics.
One goal of making is to motivate and inspire young people to excel in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and prepare students for careers in design, advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurship.
The US, however, has failed when it comes to promoting careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are commonly referred to as STEM.
In the latest Raytheon STEM index, high school students from the United States shows a modest to almost a little interest when it comes to engineering and technology. They also show little interest when it comes to important fundamental sciences and mathematics subjects.
One may use the excuse that he will not pursue a degree in the STEM field however, the mentality that other fields apart from STEM do not use the basic STEM skills is now no longer true.
In a report from Capital One Financial Corp and Burning Glass Technologies it was found that digital proficiency had been one of the essential requirement for around 80 percent of middle-skill positions that require at least a high school diploma but not necessarily a four-year bachelor’s degree, such as office assistants, sales representatives and recruiters.
Job placements which required digitally-intensive middle-skills among job positions ballooned to 4.7 percent between 2003 and 2013, as compared to just 1.9 percent growth for nondigital middle-skills jobs during the same window, according to the report.
While employees that would traditionally be considered non-STEM are increasingly finding themselves in need of STEM skills in the workplace, those with STEM degrees lead to a growing number of opportunities for those who possess degrees outside of stereotypical science and engineering roles.
The National Science Board report also found out that 51 percent of individuals whose most advanced degree is in a science or engineering field worked in a non-science or non-engineering role in 2010.
It’s now time to stop thinking in terms of a pipeline from STEM degrees to STEM jobs.
Upon clear inspection of the various data, one may see that a degree in S&E is indeed a passport to many jobs in STEM and non-STEM fields alike.
Several key points should be taken into consideration if the nation really have to improve the status and at the same time increase the inclination of the youth towards the STEM curricula.
One way is to partner with business and philanthropic organizations to provide students and teachers with supplemental programs.
The government and the public should also be able to drive the message that science, technology engineering and mathematics produce the trendiest and most significant inventions. The youth should realize that all of the technological advances which they enjoy today are products from these fields.