Innovations in science and engineering have driven economic growth in the United States over the last five decades. More recently, technology has risen to become a defining driver of productivity in business and industry. In that context, college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines provide critical talent that fuels America’s competitive ability. Unfortunately, the United States is not producing enough STEM specialists, STEM teachers, or STEM-literate citizens to sufficiently drive innovation, spur economic growth, and produce engaged, informed leaders and citizens.
Leaders in business, education, and government have recognized that the United States must develop more home-grown talent in STEM disciplines to meet workforce demand. Today, too few of our students are prepared for and interested in pursuing training, degrees, and careers in STEM-related fields. Moreover, as baby-boomer STEM workers rapidly approach retirement age, their replacements will increasingly be women and minorities, two groups that historically have had low participation rates in these fields.
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.