Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — Together these fields form the acronym STEM, and the United States needs more people to know that. Kids aren’t as interested in the STEM fields as they should be. That creates a gap where jobs in STEM exist, but not enough people are skilled enough to pursue them. STEM is also crucial to innovation, allowing the country to make technological advances and discoveries, solve the world’s problems, and help people live better.
Microsoft created the infographic below to illustrate some of the reasons students go into STEM, why STEM is important, and how we can encourage more students to follow that path. Some of the highlights:
- The US ranks 25th out of 30 in an international assessment of high schoolers’ performance in math. That means we have a long way to go before we have good STEM levels in our schools.
- 4 in 5 college STEM students made the decision to study it in high school or earlier. We should try to engage kids in science and math as soon as possible.
- Most men studying STEM became interested through games or toys, while most women got interested because of a great teacher or class. We need to keep these differences in mind when implementing strategies to get kids into STEM.
- The unemployment rate for STEM workers increased by a little more than 3%, while that of non-STEM workers increased by nearly 5%. This is where the jobs are.
What are your thoughts on STEM? Do you have a great story about how you got interested in the field? Let us know in the comments!