Millions Of Jobs – STEM Degree
by Natasha Bright – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Degrees
According to Geoffrey Canada, the trail-blazing educator and innovator who initiated the Harlem Children’s Zone, America has a critical shortage of people with STEM degrees. A STEM degree is focused on one of four specific areas that are vital to research and development, economic growth, scientific development, and education. Science, technology, engineering, and math degrees all fall under the STEM umbrella.
In a recent interview, Canada lamented the lack of qualified people who hold these specialized degrees. He said that “more than three million jobs are going unfilled,” because of the lack of people who have graduated with degrees in one of the four critical areas. Canada reiterated his belief that we must prepare all of our students to succeed academically so they can move on to four year degree programs that concentrate on the STEM areas and improve our world standings in academic achievement and economic development.
The STEM initiative is a government sponsored program that is part of the Educate to Innovate plan announced in November of last year. It is designed to encourage qualified students to pursue one of the STEM degrees in order to become specialized STEM teachers. The bold initiative has a goal of producing 10,000 new STEM educators annually by 2015.
Funding for the STEM initiative is not solely the responsibility of the government. There are a large number of corporations and individuals who are contributing to the STEM initiative funding. According to President Obama, more than half a billion dollars has been set aside by private entities to help keep the program alive and growing. Mr. Obama also noted that the half a billion dollar figure was projected to grow as more scholarships and funding contributions are announced.
Within the last several weeks, figures were released that unabashedly showed America’s lowered academic achievements in worldwide standings. Mr. Canada and other policy makers recognize the necessity of increasing the number of STEM degrees in order to begin halting the decline. The STEM initiative may be the best hope for that, by placing more STEM teachers in schools so that students are prepared to seek STEM degrees when they get to college.
Students can choose to enter many different fields with a STEM degree, depending on their area of interest. Students who want to pursue a STEM degree should begin as soon as possible preparing for it. One of the best ways to prepare is by enrolling in summer seminars that focus on STEM subjects. These seminars are being held at schools across the nation every year for students from the elementary level up to college. Additionally, many states now have special funding for STEM education programs and scholarships.
STEM funding information can be found at many educational sources. These may include places such as the financial aid office at colleges or universities, high school guidance counselors, as well as each state’s Department of Education website. Another good source of information is the U.S. Department of Education, as well as numerous other federal agencies that may be offering STEM scholarships, such as the Army Corps of Engineers.
2010 and beyond may be the years of online education in America, as we improve the way we teach and learn. Increasing the accredited degree programs in the STEM degree fields may finally start us on a path to economic recovery and high academic achievement.
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