Home Addressing the STEM Workforce Challenge: Kentucky

Addressing the STEM Workforce Challenge: Kentucky

BHEF Publication

To compete in the global economy, the United States needs a far deeper pool of college graduates well-educated in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) than it is currently generating. Projections show that STEM-related work opportunities will grow by about 17 percent over the next decade and that almost all of those jobs will require at least a college degree. Kentucky, like all states, must play a role in filling these jobs, but few of its students are currently positioned to pursue careers in STEM fields. BHEF’s research shows that:

  • The majority of Kentucky 12th graders lack interest in STEM education and careers.
  • A small percentage of Kentucky’s high school seniors are both proficient in math and interested in pursuing STEM education and careers.
  • Some Kentucky 12th graders are STEM interested but lack the math proficiency needed to succeed.
  • A larger percentage of Kentucky’s male students are prepared for STEM than females.
  • Kentucky’s African American seniors are less likely than Caucasian students to be math proficient and STEM interested.
  • Kentucky’s students who are both math proficient and STEM interested are more likely to enroll in four-year than two-year colleges.
  • Some Kentucky college students are interested in STEM but lack the math proficiency to succeed.
  • Many of Kentucky’s STEM interested college students are within striking distance of math proficiency.
  • The state’s STEM-interested students enrolled in four-year colleges are more likely than those in two-year colleges to be approaching math proficiency.

This brief is part of the BHEF STEM Workforce and Policy Brief Series, which focuses on important dimensions of the education and workforce misalignment challenge facing the United States. Through this series, BHEF will further analyze 10th and 12th grade student STEM interest and math proficiency, as well as postsecondary enrollment using a longitudinal data set provided by BHEF member organization ACT. These analyses will provide fresh insights into the nature of the STEM challenge and explore unique solutions to these challenges.


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