Why is STEM education so important?
The modern world is a STEM world. Most jobs of the future will require an understanding of math and science. In addition, these jobs will offer higher pay than non-STEM jobs.
The National Science Foundation recently announced:
“In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”
The U. S. Department of Commerce concurs. According to recent findings:
- In 2015, there were 9.0 million STEM workers in the United States. About 6.1 percent of all workers are in STEM occupations, up from 5.5 percent just five years earlier.
- Employment in STEM occupations grew much faster than employment in non-STEM occupations over the last decade (24.4 percent versus 4.0 percent, respectively), and STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8.9 percent from 2014 to 2024, compared to 6.4 percent growth for non- STEM occupations.
- STEM workers command higher wages, earning 29 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts in 2015. This pay premium has increased since our previous report, which found a STEM wage advantage of 26 percent in 2010.
- STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non- STEM occupations. A STEM degree holder can expect an earnings premium of 12 percent over non-STEM degree holders, holding all other factors constant.
It is clear something must be done differently in order to change these results. However, increasing science exposure at many schools is near impossible due largely to a lack of time, resources, and huge budget shortfalls. There is a proposed solution, free from such limitations, that is rapidly gaining support- the introduction of more afterschool enrichment programs.
The demand for increased afterschool enrichment
There is a growing desire and benefit for Afterschool Enrichment in America. The results of a recent poll published by Kappan Magazine shows that more than 9 in 10 Americans support public schools providing afterschool programs with 77 percent reporting that they strongly supported schools providing afterschool programs. The poll also found that 80 percent said that STEM classes are an extremely important or very important element of school quality.
Another recent study published by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Policy Studies Associates, Inc. identified the benefits of such programs, finding that regular participation in high-quality afterschool programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits. This study also related reductions in behavior problems among disadvantaged students to participation in such programs.
Besides after school programs keeping kids safe and helping working families, children enrolled in programs outside of school tend to view STEM as more than just a class to finish. Having activities that reveal real-life applications of STEM can help build upon ideas taught in school and inspire children to take their knowledge to the next level and promote lifelong learning.
We at Sciencecraft Inc. feel that a reasonable solution to fulfill the collective desire for such programs, and deliver the associated benefits to our educational communities, is enlisting the services of an outside, specialized entity. Unfortunately affordable, quality STEM providers are scarce in many areas. Therefore, it is our goal to seek out and provide our resources and services to those communities without such providers as well as those who wish to grow or improve their exiting outside education offerings.