23 Aug STEM: What is it and what does it mean for the economy?
What is STEM?
STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, an area of study and practice under which mechanical and electrical engineering falls.
As discussed in last week’s blog post which you can read here, opportunities in the mechanical and electrical are arising in abundance. However, igniting students’ passion to study in the STEM field, and providing them with the necessary skills to fill these jobs, has proven to be something of a challenge.
Just this month, Sentinus Chairman Jim Stewart discussed the importance and need for more training in STEM skills. So while there isn’t a job gap so to speak, there definitely is a skills gap. In recent weeks a report was published by UK’s Science and Technology Committee published explaining that such a skills gap in STEM is costing the economy around £63 billion a year.
According to Julian Wragg, EMEA Managing Director at Pluralsight: “STEM subjects are hugely important; however, much of the current technology curriculum for university and college education doesn’t place enough emphasis on the relevant technical skills needed in today’s businesses”. He continues, “the EU Commission reports that by 2020 the continent will have a shortfall of 900,000 much-needed IT professionals — that’s a population the size of Stockholm”.
And the problem isn’t limited to the UK. In a bid to solve this industry crisis, University’s like Penn State in the US, are encouraging students to discover their passion in STEM. Rafic Bachnak, the director of the college’s School of Science, Engineering and Technology at Penn State designed a two-week STEM Summer Enrichment Program at Penn State. 28 high school students from 12 high schools completed the course; many of these students showed great interest in science or mathematics. Bachnak said “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are crucial fields for driving innovation and competitiveness.” “STEM jobs show the highest expectation for growth: 17 percent as compared to 10 percent for jobs overall. By 2018, there may be as many as 2.4 million unfilled STEM jobs in the United States”.