As the US continues to recover from the recession, optimism is rising about the health of our economy. A key factor people often turn to in evaluating economic health is the unemployment rate, which has hit a 20-year low in this country while jobs continue to be added monthly. However, it is necessary for us to further evaluate the data to fully understand where these jobs are coming from, and how various sectors of the workforce experience this impact.
When we look at Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs specifically, economic projections point to a need for 1 million more STEM professionals than the US will produce at the current rate over the next decade, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. STEM jobs alone have grown 17 percent, which is much faster than the nearly 10 percent growth rate in all other areas. Yet the civic infrastructure is not there to support this growth.
One of the most important factors that limits the United States’ ability to stay ahead of the STEM curve is the lack of introduction to these educational areas at an early age. More school districts are providing laptops as resources for their students. Laptops or iPads are great in terms of exposure to technology and a step in the right direction. However, the use of this technology is not enough to meet the future workplace skills that students need.