Frank Lucas

Point of View: Rural America Needs STEM Education

The global economy is changing. To remain competitive in this evolving market, the United States needs a workforce skilled in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

We’re already seeing incredible demand for these skills. STEM careers are growing faster than any other sector. The growth in STEM careers is so strong, in fact, that employers are struggling to fill open jobs.

In Oklahoma, for instance, our universities have doubled the size of their engineering programs but still can’t keep up with demand. After the most recent class entered the job market, there were still more than 2,000 open engineering jobs in the state. Over the next decade, the STEM shortage is anticipated to reach 1 million professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meeting this demand starts in the classroom. Students who bring STEM degrees and skills to the workforce have higher wages than their counterparts and starting salaries more than 30 percent higher than those for non-STEM jobs.

 

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