Wednesday, July 20, 2011

STEM Education is Important

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education has gotten a lot of attention in the press over the past few years. Quite simply, having a well educated and innovative STEM workforce is critical to the economic security and prosperity of the United States. More importantly, a solid STEM education provides all of our children with a strong foundation to “keep the door open” on many opportunities throughout their lives.

I was recently speaking with a CEO of a company that prioritizes hiring of scientists, mathematicians and economists because they are good problem solvers. They are creative, yet able to analyze data and trends. He told me that hiring those types of people is a very competitive process - he may only have a few candidates that are also being recruited by other companies. On the other hand, he adds, when we hire someone with a business background, we might have 50-100 (or more) applicants for a single position.

Payscale, Inc. released a report that ranked undergraduate college degrees by median starting salary and mid-career salary (w/o graduate degree). Seven of the top 10 majors were in engineering. The other three (economics, physics and computer science) all require a significant “STEM” background. In fact, every career in the top 20 (marketing comes in at 21) requires substantial science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics coursework.

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