Today, our nation is faced with a growing number of jobs that require science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education background and a limited number of candidates to fill these positions.
Approximately 5 million jobs are open today–more than half a million of them are in information technology fields like software development, cybersecurity, etc.- many of which did not exist a decade ago. It is also projected that STEM fields will add as many as 1 million jobs by 2022.
These jobs are growing faster than non-STEM occupations. Yet, data continues to show, what we know intuitively, that U.S. companies are unable to fill positions due to the growing skills-gap.
STEM is considered the second-fastest growing occupation industry, but an area where women and minorities are desperately lacking.
Consider the demographic transition facing our nation. At more than 54 million, Hispanics comprise the largest and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.
Despite this rapid demographic transition, Hispanics still lag in almost every measure when it comes to science, technology, engineering, and math.
Imagine the economic benefit realized if the largest and fastest-growing segment of our nation were equipped with the skills to fill the growing numbers of STEM occupations. What would that look like? It would be an enormous economic payoff.
Now more than ever, our population is undergoing a significant racial/ethnic shift and we need to support policies that promote rigorous high quality education, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math at an early age.
Moreover, we often promote minority participation in STEM the traditional way, let’s not forget about nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps” and high-quality online courses. How about we elevate the dialogue about how these options can rapidly train workers for a decent paying job in just a few months.
Access and opportunity to science, technology, engineering, and math fields can provide a pathway to economic prosperity as well as positively impact our country’s economic future.