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STEM Curriculum Could Mean Employment, Unemployment in Future

by Meta J. Mereday

The success of our children may rely on the STEM curriculum (Photo courtesy of pitsco.com).

Strengthening the Roots to STEM Education

 

 

          The educational and career waves of the future are riding on a STEM. 

          The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum provides the building blocks for these emerging industries. Preparing our aspiring leaders in these subject areas is essential to maintaining a strong presence for America in the global arena. 

          According to the Department of Labor, by the year 2018, there will be over 1 million job opportunities in STEM-related occupations ranging from engineers to scientists. However, there will not be enough qualified graduates to fill the positions. Thus, the need to implement a focused STEM curriculum is crucial.

          Starting from the parents’ perspective, a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive reported that parents who feel that a STEM curriculum should be made a priority in the school system believe that it is the best way for the United States to remain competitive globally.      

          Emphasis was also placed on creating a generation of innovators in addition to preparing students for well paying jobs and fulfilling careers. 

          Despite 50 percent of the parents in the survey stating that they would like to see their children pursue a STEM education; just under 25 percent were willing to pay additional money to support it.

          From the students’ perspective, only one in five of the college students currently following a STEM curriculum stated that they were well prepared during their K-12 educational process.   Close to 60 percent of STEM college students reported that a teacher or class got them interested in this area. 

          Also, one in five students became interested in a STEM curriculum while in middle school. This highlights the importance of starting as early as possible with a focused STEM curriculum to ingrain the advantages and opportunities in young minds.

          Corporate America is making great strides to assist academia with the promotion and implementation of a STEM curriculum to help bolster the future workforce.

          According to Jason Koebler, in his USNEWS.com article entitled, “Companies Increasingly Influencing College STEM Programs,” a number of companies, especially technology companies have found an answer to the problem of hiring skilled workers.

          “A growing number of companies are partnering with universities to form specialized programs designed to give students the experience needed to work at the company.” He added, “Experts focused on solving the science, technology, engineering, and math skills shortage say colleges are the ideal place for enterprise to step in and help formulate the curricula.”

          Companies that are bringing practical applications to the STEM curriculum include Microsoft Corporation, which has made substantial investments into STEM education from elementary to college levels.

          Also, Northrop Grumman and Sherwin Williams have partnered with the University of Maryland-College Park and Case Western Reserve University respectively to generate programs focused on future STEM careers.

          Strengthening the roots of STEM curriculum starts not just in the schools, but in the home and the business community.

          In order for the United States to maintain a strong global presence and to prepare the next generation for the new STEM jobs, the need to reinforce a multi-platform STEM curriculum should start early in the child development phase, and to secure our future as a global leader, it should start now.

Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

This article was published on Friday 16 November, 2012.
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