Never too early to STEM the tide of joblessness

October 26, 2012 

As the first report cards are handed out for the 2012-13 school year, parents should pay attention. It’s not just about the grades, it’s about what courses the grades are in. And while we want our children to grow up to be productive, taxpaying citizens, to reach that goal begins very early.

Christopher Campellone, writing for A New York Times supplement dealing with education and the best companies to work for, began his article, titled “Declaration of Career Independence: Why STEM Students have an Advantage” with “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all undergraduate degrees are not created equal, that students endowed by their university with certain credentials, that among these, none guarantees the pursuit of a challenging and fruitful career.”

But there is an interesting correlation between employment and students who graduate in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects. According to an Associated Press study, students in STEM subjects “are most likely to find a job after graduation.”

You may think that your child is in elementary or middle school, maybe even high school and it’s too early to start thinking about STEM, employment and all of that. Really? School systems all over the state are being encouraged to start certified STEM programs. There are grants available for STEM teachers and competitions among programs. There is also the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy camp, where teachers go off for a week to learn ways to make science and math fun. The camp is free, but teachers have to apply and the deadline is Oct. 31. Apply online at www.sendmyteacher.com/?

The world of tomorrow is being set today and it’s time to start thinking about the future. Here’s a little factoid that should be a bit scary. There are 3.6 million unemployed for every vacant job in the United States, but according to the Times’ article, in STEM areas there are “two unfilled jobs for every unemployed STEM graduate.” It’s great to have choices, but preparing for those choices begins today.

-- Editorial Board

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