I have STEM religion now. I have heard the facts, been working with the experts, and now I am fully on board. A couple of years ago, I didn’t know what STEM meant (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and I certainly didn’t get why it was becoming such a buzz topic. Now I get it. The fastest growing sectors of our economy are in the science, tech, and engineering fields. The US Dept of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million jobs in these areas and currently there are only 400,000 kids enrolled in these majors. That’s 1 million job openings that our kids won’t be qualified to fill. Sheesh.
As a country, our stats are not so impressive. Globally we are ranked 25th in math, and 17th in science. (Dept of Education) Why? Some point to a shortage of well trained teachers in these fields. When is the last time your kid came home and talked about how great her math teacher is? If you have one of those fantastic teachers – count him/her among your blessings. Companies across America are in a bit of a panic about getting kids involved in STEM to create a pipeline of future employees. Facebook, Apple, Google, and scores of others are promoting after-school STEM programs to stimulate more students to focus in these critical fields. It is certainly why my company, Sylvan Learning, teamed up with LEGO Education and Tynker to offer classes in Robotics and Coding to elementary school kids with our new Sylvan EDGE brand.