What is STEM Education?
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
The Importance of STEM Education
All of this effort is to meet a need. According to some reports, by 2018, projections estimate the need for 8.65 million workers in STEM-related jobs au US only. The manufacturing sector faces an alarmingly large shortage of employees with the necessary skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, the bulk of STEM careers will be:
- Computing – 71 percent
- Traditional Engineering – 16 percent
- Physical sciences – 7 percent
- Life sciences – 4 percent
- Mathematics – 2 percent
STEM jobs do not all require higher education or even a college degree. Less than half of entry-level STEM jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, a four-year degree is incredibly helpful with salary — the average advertised starting salary for entry-level STEM jobs with a bachelor’s requirement was 26 percent higher than jobs in the non-STEM fields. For every job posting for a bachelor’s degree recipient in a non-STEM field, there were 2.5 entry-level job postings for a bachelor’s degree recipient in a STEM field.
This is not a problem unique to the United States. In the United Kingdom, the Royal Academy of Engineering reports that the Brits will have to graduate 100,000 STEM majors every year until 2020 just to meet demand. According to the report, Germany has a shortage of 210,000 workers in the mathematics, computer science, natural science and technology disciplines.