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TechConnectWV Survey Finds 48,500 Employed in STEM Jobs

October 06, 2016

More than 48,500 are employed in West Virginia’s STEM-related fields, according to an October survey, A Survey: STEM Jobs in West Virginia in 2015, commissioned by TechConnect WV and the West Virginia Department of Commerce. The survey, which used data from 2015, found that 48,553 people, or 6.7 percent of the state’s workforce, are employed in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)fields – ranking the state higher than the national average of 6.2 percent (as of May 2015). The reported average hourly wage in West Virginia for a STEM-related job is $28.89. And those STEM jobs support another 190,000 jobs in West Virginia, including 56,600 workers employed in the healthcare sector, and 2,420 employed as post-secondary educators in STEM-related subjects.

Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnectWV, said the survey shows the state has a “solid innovation economy” and its results are critical to altering the perception that West Virginia lacks in the knowledge economy.  The report gives TechConnectWV and the state’s Department of Commerce evidence to present to policymakers to assist in their planning for the state’s future: creating more STEM-related positions, which are generally higher paying, more recession proof, and many do not require a four-year degree, and is crucial to the state’s path forward.

For its survey, TechConnectWV evaluated 2015 data collected through the Occupation Information Network (O*Net), the nation’s primary source of occupational information and an initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. O*Net was used to obtain information on the STEM disciplines identified in the survey: life sciences, computer science, engineering, chemistry, environmental sciences, geosciences, mathematics, and physics/astronomy; and, in order to determine the total number of jobs supported by the survey’s identified STEM occupations, TechConnectWV, in collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Commerce, used data from the Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).

Survey results indicated that about one-third of West Virginia’s STEM jobs are computer related (15,490 are computer science and information security positions); another one-third are in engineering (15,481 positions); and the rest are divided among chemistry (5,822), life sciences (7,010 – including math, physics/astronomy, environmental sciences and geosciences), and accounting and auditing (4,750).

Barth notes that STEM jobs drive the economy through innovation and competitiveness, as well as “generate new industries, new companies and new job opportunities.” Additionally, while many STEM jobs may require a bachelor’s, graduate, or post-graduate degree, she also indicated that other positions require technical one- or two-year degrees, and are just as critical to driving the state’s current and future economic growth.  

stem, workforce