Shaping the future – and diversity – of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce starts with education today.
Research shows that young girls like STEM subjects, but as they get older, something changes. They start feeling like STEM isn’t for them based on outdated stereotypes about the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Each year, as the Chamber Foundation hosts the Talent Forward national workforce conference, we focus on talent—educating and training, talent tech and data, recruiting, hiring, and upskilling. With no shortage of talent challenges, the opportunities for informative discussion are endless. While a day devoted to dissecting talent-related topics could focus solely on the problems, Talent Forward is all about the solutions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 8.6 million STEM jobs in May 2015, with the highest jobs in software development, user support, and systems analysts. Despite the high number of jobs, the lack of skilled workers in the labor force allow these positions to go unfilled. To make matters worse, the existing STEM workforce lacks diversity among women and minorities, not representing the emerging workforce of women and underrepresented groups.
To close the opportunity divide, cities like Boston are looking to strategic partnerships between employers and workforce and talent development programs to connect underserved youth with the work-based learning experiences that exist in their own community and help equip them with the skills and real-world experience they need to succeed in them.