Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Future Jobs with Your STEM Skills

By Stephanie Prosack

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is a hot topic in the education world. I was invited to attend an ACS Congressional Briefing last week to hear its relevance to chemistry graduate students and postdocs. STEM skills have created innovative inventions, however, in the United States, STEM education leading to novel ideas is lagging behind that of foreign countries’ and is producing fewer students educated with this knowledge. Further information was provided at this discussion by an array of STEM education experts including Sylvester James Gates, Jr., theoretical physicist; Eunice Heath, senior director for government affairs (northeast) and corporate citizenship for STEM education, The Dow Chemicals Company; Mark Rosenberg, president, Florida International University; and Linda Rosen, chief executive officer, Change the Equation.




In the United States, STEM skills are typically taught at lower levels beginning at pre-kindergarten classes through college-level courses. The lack of STEM education in the United States has created a hindrance to keep the United States competitive, intellectually and economically. Approximately 57% of students who are taking a college math course in the U.S. are taking one “that is not internationally recognized as a college-level course,” says Gates. Despite the lower-pedigree of STEM courses, technology derived from STEM skills is becoming more needed in everyday life. Cell phones and electronic applications make life more convenient for people in western countries, and societies rely on these technologies to function. Additionally, the United States will have a large demographic out of the work force in the upcoming years as baby boomers retire. The combination of the lack of STEM education, increased requisite of STEM skills, and a large group of employees leaving the employment market creates a job gap.

Although, this may seem detrimental to some, people with STEM skills, which, many of you have as chemists, are becoming more vital. According to Rosen, “job seekers outnumbered online job postings by 3.6 people to one job,” yet “STEM jobs outnumbered unemployed people by 1.9 jobs to one person.”  The gap between qualified STEM employees to STEM jobs is bound to keep increasing as technology evolves and older generations retire from working.

If you are curious about the future of STEM education in the U.S. and the views of U.S. Presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, here is an interesting article summarizing each party. This is a useful pictogram displaying unemployment rates in some of the country's metropolitan areas. How does your town compare?





What have your experiences been and what are your views about STEM education in the United States?

7 comments:

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Prema said...




Thanks for sharing the valuable information,This is useful information for online learners

Stem Education