Many of the best paying jobs in America, indeed, the world, require some familiarity with science, technology, engineering or math. Wherever you look, schools and programs across the country are implementing STEM education. Kids are performing experiments, learning how to code, working with mathematical proofs and doing all sorts of cool things. The question is, what is the importance of STEM education?
Many companies today are actively seeking candidates who possess STEM skills. This is because the global economy is increasingly shifting towards jobs that are in STEM fields. Whether you’re looking at the importance of technology companies in the stock market, or pharmaceutical and healthcare firms to the wellbeing of the economy, or some other realm, it’s hard to understate how important STEM fields have become.
Nevertheless, there is a massive shortage of professionals with STEM skills. This has dire consequences for the United States. Studies show that the United States needs to produce 1 million more STEM professionals over the next decade, than it is currently able to, or face losing its preeminent position in science and technology. The United States risks losing out to China, India and smaller nations in the race for leadership in developing the scientific and technological innovations of the future.
STEM education is an important part of the intellectual development of children. It opens the door to seeing the world in a different way. As people have fallen for disinformation spread online about Covid-19, climate change and other scientific matters, it has seldom been more important to teach children to understand science and think like a scientist.
The importance of STEM education spurred President Obama to elevate the importance of STEM education, providing $3.1 billion in federal funding. The goal of the funding was to increase the number of STEM comfortable with STEM problems. The job market has signalled to many students and their parents that STEM education is highly desirable.
It has been observed that children exposed to STEM education from a young age perform better in their school work than children who are not exposed to STEM subjects from a young age. Indeed, when children are exposed to STEM subjects, their career prospects widen and they tend to make different career choices.
Many high schools, summer and after school programs deliberately set out to prioritise the teaching of STEM subjects. They meet the needs of students and parents hungry for exposure to STEM and STEAM programs. Often, summer and after-school programs will expose children to such diverse activities as biology experiments, building mobile apps, robotics, and video game design.
It’s not surprising to see so many resources being poured into STEM subjects. Estimates show that STEM-centric jobs are expected to grow at twice the rate of non-STEM fields. The world needs STEM professionals. Indeed, STEM professionals are likely to make $500,000 more over the course of their lifetime, than people in non-STEM careers. That is an incredible advantage. The premium being paid for people with STEM skills demonstrates just how important they are to the economy and the prospects of American businesses.
In conclusion, we can say that at a time when STEM skills are in such short supply, there are huge advantages to having STEM skills. The market is ready to pay a premium for those skills and parents and students need to take STEM subjects seriously. They also need the government to pour resources into supporting STEM
In short, the U.S. today is experiencing a severe lack of a skilled workforce that can keep up with the advances being made in technology and the sciences. Expanding and reinforcing STEM education has the ability to bridge the technical and experiential gap, all while broadening the mind sets of students and professionals alike for generations to come.