This week, ITI, will unveil the latest iteration of its STEM book, Moving Education Forward: Strengthening STEM in Today’s Classrooms, spotlighting many of our member companies that are making serious investments to help build the skills America’s students and workers need to succeed in the 21st century workplace.
The ITI publication promises to be an excellent resource detailing the high-tech industry’s commitment to enhancing our domestic STEM pipeline. The tech industry has made investments in all four corners of the country, reaching nearly every demographic. Because of the industry’s support, teachers are better able to stay current with best teaching practices; students are afforded hands-on, inquiry-based learning; workers are being retrained in today’s latest technologies; and the playing field is leveling for women and other underserved communities who aren’t often exposed to a high quality STEM education in the classroom.
Many in the industry, including ITI, have long argued that improving our outdated education system would pay enormous dividends in making our economy more innovative and competitive over the long-term. The gulf between what’s currently taught in our classrooms and what the marketplace demands is wide and only continues to grow. Also increasing in the U.S. is the gap between the demand for STEM talent and the STEM talent supply. The undeniable truth is that too many graduates and displaced workers are attempting to enter or reenter the workplace without the STEM foundation a 21st century, knowledge-based economy requires.
In 2013, a STEM education, whether it’s acquired in school or a workforce training program, is the best predictor of employability. STEM skills are versatile and functional not only in traditional STEM fields like engineering and computer programming, but increasingly in traditional blue collar jobs like manufacturing, mining, and logistics, as well.
The investments the high-tech industry has made in our nation’s students and workforce should be applauded. The forward-thinking exhibited by these companies is timely and will undoubtedly benefit the entire country through increased innovation, job creation, and economic growth.