Opinions

STEM Education provides opportunities for students

by KEITH OSHIMA

While subjects like math and science may be the bane of many students’ existence, they are also seen as the key to a successful life for other hardworking students.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects may be some of the more rewarding fields to study in school, according to recent studies on job growth and interests.

The need to study STEM subjects has been supported by many different organizations, including the Department of Education. According to ed.gov, President Obama has proposed a $110 million budget exclusively for fostering and promoting STEM education.

The jobs available in STEM fields may also be more secure and lucrative than jobs in other fields. According to livescience.com, for every job for a bachelor’s degree recipient in a non-STEM field, there were 2.5 entry-level jobs for a bachelor’s degree recipient in a STEM field. These jobs also pay much more than any other non-STEM job.  In an overview of jobs done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013, the average wage for all STEM occupations was $79,640, roughly 1.7 times the national annual average wage for all occupations.

Women in STEM occupations also have a few advantages over men in the same field. According to whitehouse.gov, women who work in STEM occupations earn, on average, 33% more than men in the same fields.

However, even with federal agencies like the National Science Organization that promote STEM occupations, they make up only one out of every 10 jobs in the U.S., according to bls.gov. In 2012, 600,000 jobs in STEM fields were left unfilled even with 13 million people unemployed in the U.S., according to stemconnector.org. These statistics correlate with the fact that the U.S. has dropped in international rankings in both math and science to 25th and 17th place, respectively.

Additionally, in a study done in 2012 by the Lemselson-MIT Invention Index which named factors that prevented young adults ages 16 to 25 from pursuing further education or work in the STEM fields, 34 percent said they did not know much about the fields, 33 percent said they were too challenging, and 28 percent said they were not well prepared at school to seek further education in STEM areas.

If STEM subjects were more emphasized in schools, more people could be working, helping to strengthen the economy and advancing our repositories of knowledge.

While STEM subjects may intimidate students from even thinking about studying the fields, they offer an option that all students should consider in the future. The world is becoming more technologically complex, and students should consider careers connected with this trend.

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