STEM Education in a Growing Technological Workplace

A article by Dana C. Hackley, Ph.D. recently stated that “over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled, but the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.”

A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education program is designed to fill these jobs and mold students showing interest in future technology.

Hackley continues, “the greatest shortage currently is in employees with technology and computer skills.” The United States Education Department’s STEM webpage shares a following graphic projecting the 10-year percentage increases between 2010 and 2020.

projected STEM jobs

But why the shortage? Hackley argues that lacking student interest stems from the “outdated belief that manufacturing is low-skilled, menial work”. A manufacturing job in the 21st century is now in a “modern, state-of-the-art foundations of innovation and technology.” Current data shows the average manufacturing worker earning more than $77,000 in 2013.

Hackley finishes with this question, “Why are we not exposing students to these careers, which are not only available, but also are incorporating the latest technology?”

Discussion Questions:

Are your students exposed to these careers and technology?

Do you notice a current shortage of employees with technology and computer skills?

What is your experience with STEM education?

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