Apple, Microsoft, and Meta are just three of the many of the world’s top companies that specialize in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). STEM education is the basis of the future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 6.65% of all occupations are STEM-related in 2020. The Bureau also includes a 10.5% projected increase in STEM occupations from 2020 to 2030.
In order to fulfill this estimation, the U.S. needs to focus on STEM engagement in schools. Not only do young kids need to be exposed to STEM, but they also need to be encouraged to pursue a career in STEM. In schools like Latin, many classes in elementary through high schools are focused on engaging students in STEM. However, many schools do not have as much funding as Latin, and thus do not have the ability to teach STEM classes to the standard required to satisfy the needs of a STEM-related job.
As of 2020, the median annual wage for STEM occupations is $89,780, which is almost double the median annual wage of non-STEM occupations at $40,020. In their article in SHRM, former United States congressmen Rick Lazio and Harold Ford Jr. explain that there are “vacant jobs [that] could pump billions into the U.S. economy, but our workforce lacks the skills needed to take on the roles.” If the U.S. works to introduce more young kids to STEM fields now, these empty roles that are needed to rake in money for the U.S. will eventually be occupied as the children grow up.
According to STEM Village, “the World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. 44th in quality of math and science education”. Furthermore, while there are 560,000 computing jobs in the U.S., “only 43,000 computer science students graduated into the workforce last year.”. The only way that the U.S. is going to be able to have enough people graduating and working in STEM fields in the future is by educating more children in these courses.
Ideally, schools are the first place where students should be exposed and encouraged to want to learn, yet many schools are not able to engage students due to a lack of funding, resources, or teachers. Instead of leaving these children unaware of the possibilities for their future, the government should invest in more STEM education and programs to inform children that they are not confined to certain occupations.
“Employment in STEM Occupations.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2021, Postal Square Building 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE Washington, DC 20212-0001. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.
Lazio, Rick, and Harold Ford, Jr. “The U.S. Needs to Prepare Workers for STEM Jobs.” SHRM, 6 June 2019, www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/summer2019/pages/the-u.s.-needs-to-prepare-workers-for-stem-jobs.aspx. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.
“STEM Careers.” Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science, tsaweb.org/teams/competitors/stem-careers. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.
“Why STEM Education is the New #1 Corporate Investment.” STEM Village, www.stemvillage.com/blog/why-stem-education-is-the-new-1-corporate-investment. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.