Policymakers, education organizations increase focus on STEM graduates in the workforce
- Both policymakers and educational organizations are increasingly investing resources in building out the STEM graduate to industry pathway. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announed this week a new initiative to double the number of CUNY graduates with tech-related bachelor's degrees by 2022 and with $20 million worth of investment, according to a press release from the mayor's office.
- And higher education institutions are also winning more grants to launch STEM-related programs, with Meredith College receiving $1 million from the National Science Foundation to launch the Advancing Women's Education in STEM Scholars Program, which will provide financial aid to women based on merit and need, reports Campus Technology.
- In the mayor's press release, Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, explains the investments are necessary to fill needs in the workforce while advancing students. "This new initiative opens the door for more New Yorkers to enter quality, well-paying careers in the tech sector while helping local companies find the home-grown talent they need to build their businesses," he said.
Increasingly, more higher education institutions, policymakers, and education advocacy groups are investing resources in advancing the numbers of STEM graduates in the workforce, even despite a trend of dwindling public funding for education overall — recognizing a gap that needs to be filled and that can help the local economy. This comes as more leaders in the industry realize that STEM courses, combined with liberal arts background, are needed to actually give students the skills and experiences they need to do well in the workforce — with District Administration reporting most traditional "trade" paths actually require these courses in post-secondary education.
Particularly as automation takes over the world of work, educators in higher education are going to have to reassess their standard technology classes to train the next breed of employees that are necessary to fill gaps that otherwise could not be filled by machines — which does require that well rounded technical and humanities discipline. And, institutions that may not be able to provide this service could run the risk of falling behind the others. Those universities and colleges that want to up their STEM game can team up with industry partners, who are more than willing to provide resources for institutions that want to build out the tech career pipeline. They can also look toward organizations like the National Science Foundation for grants, as well as talk to policymakers about why STEM training and research is necessary to keep the local economy, and, therefore, public institutions afloat.
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