STEM is the Top Priority for Business Leaders in 2015
STEM skills are back in the public hot-seat after back to back news releases in as many weeks. On December 3, 2014, the Business Roundtable released a joint press release with the White House backed non profit, Change the Equation. The title, “CEO’s say skills gap threatens U.S. Economic Future framed a survey of 126 CEO’s who participated in a survey on STEM skills. In this survey, 97% of the CEO’s reported the skill gap to be a major problem for their company with the bulk of jobs requiring basic to intermediate STEM literacy and a lack of candidates with fundamental STEM knowledge. This survey reported an expectation of 1 million hires within the next 5 years requiring STEM literacy.
Just six days later on December 9, 2014, in an article published in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The CEO’s Top Priorities,” number one was the “21st Century workforce,” which called for employers to engage in partnership with schools even down to the level of early childhood education to encourage schools, parents and students to engage in STEM curricular activities and to improve focus on STEM and technical training.
With the recent release of our STEM Jobs Approved Colleges, that identifies the colleges around the country who are actively engaging in workforce collaboration, we have just opened our STEM Jobs Approved Employers survey. Unlike other employer surveys, and right in line with these 2015 business leader goals, our survey measures employers on their engagement in building the STEM workforce.
Over the past year, we have connected with students, teachers, districts and colleges to identify promising practices and to better understand the challenges in connecting the classroom to careers. What we’ve discovered is an ongoing disconnect, where studies and proclamations like the above press releases are rarely followed-up by meaningful engagement. Part of the challenge is the potential disconnect between the CEO’s office and the HR department metrics. While Human Resources professionals are held accountable for statistics like turnover, retention and time to hire, there are few if any metrics to adequately incentivize engagement in longer-term workforce development activities.
At STEM Jobs, our mission is to engage and inspire students to realize their dreams by pursuing STEM careers. We provide classroom resources that give teachers and counselors the tools they need to connect their classrooms to careers. Most importantly, we are the collective voice of tens of thousands of teachers and students advocating for greater partnership with employers at the national, regional and local level. It’s time to sponsor math class, it’s time to inspire the next generation, the STEM generation to pursue their dreams and #DoWhatYouLove