Explosive Job Growth and High Salaries Make STEM Careers Ideal for your Children
STEM: acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The world today is vastly different than what it was 20 or 30 years ago. The dramatic technology explosion has created a revolution in how we move about our everyday lives. If you told the average person in 1980 that one would be able to use a handheld telephone to turn off their home lights, pay their bills, buy movie tickets and map a trip to Disney World, you likely would have experienced some ridicule. But here we are at a time when those things are commonplace, primarily due to trailblazers in STEM related disciplines.
Some of the reasons for exposing your children to STEM concepts and careers early are obvious.
- The technological boom has spawned new industries that didn’t exist years ago. There were no Cyber Security Analyst or Clinical Informatics Specialist positions available in 1990. As technology continues to evolve, so will the opportunities for your children to get in on the ground floor and transition into a more secure industry right after college.
- Young STEM graduates have far more earning potential right out of the gate. According to topeducationaldegrees.org, 8 of the 10 most valuable Bachelor’s degrees are in the engineering discipline. Additionally, STEM fields are expected to grow at a much faster rate than their counterparts. For example, the biomedical engineering field is projected to grow by 62% through 2020. Additionally, a report titled Technology Works: High-Tech Employment and Wages in the United States indicates that STEM jobs by far outgrew other occupations by a 27:1 ratio during the first decade of the new millennium.
But some of the reasons are not so obvious:
- Along with creating new industries, technology is eliminating others. For example, the retail sector experienced a 15% size reduction between 2007 and 2011. How about the newspaper industry? With almost everyone having breaking news at our fingertips on our smartphones, the newspaper industry experienced negative growth of 28% over that same four-year period.
- The Technology Works report also pointed out that the high-tech sector has an impressive “multiplier effect” on other local goods and services. With 4.3 jobs created for every job created in the high-tech sector, it far outpaces any other sector. To put this into perspective, traditional manufacturing only offers a 1.4 multiplier effect.
To take advantage of this opportunity, the U.S. has some work to do. According to the World Economic Forum, we only rank 52nd in math and science and our global competitiveness ranking is 5th (and continuing to fall). Also, among developed nations, we only rank 27th in the proportion of students receiving STEM undergraduate degrees. But there are some out there that are pushing to move the needle in a more positive direction. Shining examples of this include:
- STEM NOLA in New Orleans takes head-on the goal of increasing awareness of STEM careers by exposing kids of all ages to the wonders of STEM and how it impacts their everyday lives. Founded and directed by Dr. Calvin Mackie, STEM NOLA is entering its second year. What kind of impact is STEM NOLA having? In 2014 alone, STEM NOLA engaged more than 2300 kids from more than 200 different area schools through its innovative and fun “STEM Saturdays”. STEM NOLA also offers in-school and after-school programs, summer enrichment programs and professional development for educators. STEM NOLA is sponsored by high-profile organizations such as Boeing, GE, ExxonMobile and Great Minds in STEM, with the stated purpose of “exposing, inspiring and engaging members in the surrounding communities about opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics”. STEM NOLA is a 501(c)(3) organization and accepts donations (Click here to donate). If you live in New Orleans or its surrounding areas, your kids should attend “STEM Saturdays” at least once. Dr. Calvin Mackie is an engaging personality that is able to connect with youth in a unique way that most PhDs can only dream of doing.
- The TAP Coalition (Tapping America’s Potential) seeks to boost the number of yearly STEM graduates by 400,000. TAP is a cooperation between 15 leading business associations that include organizations such as The Business Roundtable, Information Technology Industry Council, the Council on Competitiveness, the Minority Business Roundtable and the National Venture Capital Association, among others.
- The STEM Education Coalition has the goal of informing state and federal policymakers of how STEM affects the country’s global competitiveness in the 21st century. Home based in Washington, D.C., this organization communicates with the White House to recommend education policies and advocates for the development and implementation of legislation that facilitates STEM competitiveness.