In increasing numbers, high school and college students are turning their focus to the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). For employers who need to fill technology jobs, this is good news, particularly because of the projected growth for skilled workers. A report by the U.S. Economics and Statistics Association estimates that the number of jobs in STEM fields has grown by 14 percent since 2008, compared with non-STEM jobs, which have grown at just 1.7 percent. Projections for computer and math job growth by 2024 show a slight slowdown but are still estimated to grow by an astonishing 13.1 percent.
However, it is estimated that there will be a worker shortfall of up to one million qualified STEM workers by 2022. For employers committed to building a diverse workforce, one that is representative of the greater population, the problem is even bigger. While the need for STEM professionals is growing faster than other areas, the numbers of women and minorities pursuing STEM careers are not keeping pace with the increasing need.
Addressing the Shortfall
Recognizing the need for STEM workers, colleges and universities nationwide have stepped up their game by expanding and improving their curriculum in the STEM fields. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education has created a 13-agency committee that is focused on improving STEM education, diversifying the STEM workforce, and designing graduate-level STEM education.
Non-for-profit organizations have also sprung up (or stepped up their game) nationwide in recent years to try to both encourage more people to pursue STEM training and careers, and to encourage diversity in the STEM workforce.
One of those national organizations is Change the Equation (CTEq) launched in 2010 by more than 100 Fortune 500 company CEOs. CTEq’s mission is to help increase STEM literacy. Its members represent more than 20 industries and play an active and vital role in shaping the STEM workforce of the future.
Aligning with Local Non-Profit Educational STEM Groups
STEM non-profit initiatives are not limited to the national stage. Organizations in every state are dedicated to helping bridge the gap between STEM workers and the businesses that need them.
When businesses engage with these organizations at any level, great things can happen. First, becoming involved with a local non-profit STEM group in your community gives you first-hand input and involvement in shaping curriculum. By doing so, you have a say in making sure children and young adults coming through the STEM pipeline have the skills your organization needs to be competitive and successful.
Another benefit of STEM non-profit involvement is that your organization will have instant exposure to potential workers who could fill entry-level jobs or who could complete internships with your company. While some organizations focus exclusively on younger learners, there are many who work with college-aged adults.
Finally, while most employers wouldn’t establish a relationship with a STEM non-profit simply for publicity’s sake, the positive public relations benefits and incidental social media “shout outs” can be impactful. Workers want employers who are engaged as corporate citizens in their communities. Partnering with a STEM non-profit is a great way to show your commitment to the future.
How to Get Involved.
Employers can team with local colleges and universities to focus on STEM curriculum, but there’s also a huge opportunity to engage with not-for-profit STEM organizations. Your local colleges, universities and STEM charter schools can help you identify, and can put you in touch with, organizations close to you so you can explore partnership opportunities.
Nationally, Change The Equation offers a variety of resources for the business community, including data, guides, and best practices.
Other national organizations with local presences include the YMCA’s and YWCA’s STEM programs.
Even getting involved at a minimal level to start with can have a big impact on your community, helping to shape your future workforce.
ICS Supports Corporate Diversity and the Future Workforce
At Infinity Consulting Solutions, we are proud to support corporate diversity, and the organizations working to help foster the future workplace. We believe that being an active supporter of the communities our clients live and work in ultimately benefits everyone.
To find out more about ICS’ community involvement, or to learn how ICS connects employers and job seekers in major metropolitan areas across the country, contact us today.