Parental involvement improves students’ STEM test scores, heightens career interests

A multi-decade study shows a 12 percent increase on the math and science ACT for high school students in Wisconsin whose parents were provided with information on how to effectively convey the importance of STEM to their children, according to the UChicago News. The report also finds that the same students were more likely to take high school STEM classes. The researchers highlight that the increased STEM coursework in high school led to increases in college STEM class enrollment and careers.

Nearly 8.6 million US STEM jobs in 2015, BLS finds

Approximately 6.2 percent of U.S. workers (nearly 8.6 million people) were employed in STEM jobs in May 2015, according to STEM Occupations: Past, Present, And Future from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Of those nearly 8.6 million people, nearly half (45 percent) are employed in computer occupations. In addition, seven of the 10 largest STEM occupations were related to computers and information systems including the largest STEM occupation – applications software developers (750,000 people).  STEM occupations provide nearly double the wages of non-STEM occupations.

Manufacturing Competitiveness Relies on Talent

The U.S. ranks second on a global manufacturing competitiveness index, according to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index by research firm Deloitte Global and the Council on Competitiveness. The U.S. ranking has improved in each of the past studies and is poised to take over that top spot from China by 2020, the study maintains.  However, executives from across the world in responding to the study, noted that talent is the leading factor in determining manufacturing competitiveness, and finding and cultivating that talent is a topic that has received increasing attention from the manufacturing sector. While such rankings provide an interesting focal point, their real value lies in the discussion and attention focused on the subject matter. SSTI recently interviewed several leading thinkers on the subject, finding common calls for changing the approach to the talent pipeline in manufacturing, as well as a cautionary note on rankings.

STEM Education Designed to Reach Broad Audience

One of the greatest assets in transforming STEM education is so simple it is often overlooked: a child’s innate sense of curiosity. Harnessing that curiosity and engaging students in activities that instill a sense of wonder and discovery can help legitimize behaviors that are core to the practice of science and engineering. Experiences that invite play, tinkering, discovery and risk are valuable tools that can reach across every audience to increase an interest in STEM activities, and reach more students, according to STEM 2026.

TechConnectWV Survey Finds 48,500 Employed in STEM Jobs

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.

37 NSF INCLUDES Projects Funded to Broaden STEM Participation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the recipients of 37 Design and Development Launch Pilots as part of its INCLUDES initiative. NSF INCLUDES invests in alliances and partnerships that seek to broaden STEM participation among underrepresented groups, including women, Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, persons with disabilities, people from rural areas and people of low socioeconomic status. The program was originally developed as a response to a 2013 report by the congressionally mandated NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), which recommended a new initiative focused on broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM. 

Corporate Foundations Announce Partnerships to Support Active, Hands-on STEM Education

As the school year kicks off, several corporate foundations have announced new commitments to support hands-on K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experiences for children across the country. These new partnerships continue a trend of corporate funders bypassing funding for STEM curriculum development to focus on active learning experiences that are shown to have positive impact on STEM retention. Among the corporate foundations making announcements include Microsoft Philanthropies, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and Qualcomm.

Recent Research: The Role of Gender in Higher Ed STEM Retention, Ideas to Address Gap

Sixty percent of students drop out or transfer from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and more than 50 percent of students pursuing STEM in community colleges never graduate, according to new research from researchers at the University of Missouri (UM) and other partner institutions. The five-year National Science Foundation-backed (NSF) study is collecting data from 12 engineering colleges in the U.S. and recently reached the conclusion of its second year. The researchers report that the preliminary data also indicates that there may be a statistically significant difference in STEM retention at institutions of higher education between male and female students.

Recent Research: Hands-On STEM Research Experiences Game Changers for Freshmen

In 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released Engage to Excel – a five point strategy to increase the STEM pipeline by an additional one million workers. To achieve this goal of one million additional STEM workers, PCAST highlighted the importance of freshman research experiences for STEM students. Several studies - published over the last two years support the claims made by PCAST regarding the success of freshman research experiences. In a study from the University of Texas-Austin, the authors found that a freshman research program improved the retention of students in STEM fields. Other studies find that participation by freshmen in research experiences provides the building blocks necessary for a career in STEM. The benefits also show similarly high rates of retention after participating in a mentored research program.

Initiatives Announced to Help Young Women Overcome Roadblocks in STEM Education

Several recent studies have identified the roadblocks that females face in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. These two roadblocks include gender bias in the classroom and too few mentors in K-16 STEM fields. In an attempt to increase opportunities for females in STEM education, both federal and foundation funders have announced programs that will increase scholarship and internship opportunities for young women in STEM fields.


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