If you’ve read our previous coverage on the importance of STEM education to a manufacturing career, or how focusing on STEM skills can help you in the future, you’re already well aware of the valuable benefits of science, technology, engineering, and math education.
For Nebraskans and future manufacturers all over the country, the questions remains: how can students receive a STEM-heavy education in a school system like the one that currently prevails in America? Manufacturing and related technical fields need graduates to fill the slots in the 2.4 million STEM jobs that will be available in the next five years.
As the New York Times reported in their recent article advocating a change in STEM curriculums, “The number of students who want to pursue engineering or computer science jobs is actually falling, just at the moment when the need for those workers is soaring.”
The Times goes on to explain that the reason (or rather, fault) for this phenomenon lies with the schools and amount of teachers disinterested in the subject matter that they’re teaching. This disinterest is passed on to students trained to believe that ‘math is boring’ or that ‘science is for nerds’, with the exception of a passionate and talented few.
They offer a few solutions offered to this problem, including a more flexible STEM curriculum, better teacher preparation, very early exposure to numbers, and experience in the real world. And with shocking numbers–like the fact that more than half of the 6.7 million students studying the physical sciences are learning from teachers who didn’t even major in the subject–it’s easy to see why they believe that these changes may be necessary in order to create a stronger generation of future manufacturers, scientists, and engineers.
For Nebraskan students and parents, it is comforting to know that we have a strong school system that can and will do a fantastic job of preparing students for whatever career or major they may be interested in, whether that’s STEM or the humanities.
However, to students: you should still maximize the time you spend in school by paying attention and making an effort to advance your skills in math, science, and more. Take that engineering class even if you don’t know much about it, or spend time in extracurriculars that strengthen STEM skills. Having a background with STEM experience will be advantageous for a variety of careers, even ones not necessarily in manufacturing.
To give advice to others (or to get it) about additional ways to support a STEM education both in classes and through extracurriculars, leave a comment below or find us on Twitter!