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“STEM Fields” Talent Shortage; How the United States can regain its competitiveness in math- and science-related fields. Career College Central Magazine, September 2012
For the past 100 years, technological innovations in science and engineering have fueled the U.S. economy, produced good jobs and an extraordinary standard of living, and established the United States as an international economic leader. Our nation’s international segment of industries focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), though, is in profound decline, as documented in the “Science and Engineering Indicators: 2012” study by the National Science Board. The study concludes that STEM education and entrepreneurial thinking has taken a back seat to empirical learning, resulting in a decline in good jobs. “We do not have nearly enough people who are capable in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math,” said Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education from 2005 to 2009.
The U.S. economy relies heavily on jobs resulting from innovation. This makes selecting the means How the United States can regain its competitiveness in math- and science-related fields to ensure the sustained growth of the U.S. economy and job creating industries paramount. Job-creating industries are dependent on the nation’s college graduates being trained to decipher, understand, and identify industry solutions from historical case studies. Case studies correlating to present-day educational obstacles can provide a heads-up display for market changes, diversity of markets, and the ability to adapt to markets with a historical perspective. Having a strong focus on STEM fields reduces the talent shortage and increases learning from past education mistakes.
In the last 20 years, the skills needed for employment have become more technology related. This requires workers to have stronger backgrounds in science and engineering. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of workers in science and engineering occupations grew by nearly 800 percent between 1950 and 2000. Our nation has a thirst for STEM occupations, which is revealed in the lower unemployment statistics of STEM graduates.
Here is the big problem: The cost of waiting for old ideas to catch up with modern job-creation practices obstructs new market opportunities. Such obstructions represent a stream of wasteful practices, making it difficult to be competitive in today’s volatile markets. The loss of competitiveness results in lost work and higher unemployment statistics. According to U.S. Department of Labor information cited in the 2012 CNN Money article “The 86 Million Invisible Unemployed,” 86 million people without jobs have simply given up looking for a job. How do we bring together our combined academic experiences and industry expertise to reverse this serious educational trend? The talent solutions will come from colleges and universities that move quickly to embrace STEM education concepts, neither tolerating nor accepting limits set by bureaucratic regulations. Teachers are ready to make such change. With quick changes to curricula that encourage and promote STEM fields, the value of such an education can inspire students in K-12.
“By taking on teaching and school counselor roles, STEM educated graduates from our nation’s teaching colleges and universities become the compulsory inspiration for our young people.”
New K-12 teachers and school counselors become the natural first line of observation. STEM practitioners become vital to identifying students with a gift for the sciences. The secret sauce is in stimulating learning in students who do not know they have the ability to excel in STEM fields. These students have the strongest probability for success and become future job creators and industry leaders.
Educated teachers and school counselors in STEM can help students develop their own learning experiences and science skill sets. New experiences and skill sets become the bedrock of goal setting early in a student’s educational journey. In the pyramid design, we begin with the foundation of knowledge experienced through the empirical learning of teachers and school counselors.
The modern-day assessment tool that can easily be adapted to test the necessities of K-12 is called the Prior Learning Assessment. PLA is an important strategy for helping students progress toward higher education. Understanding a student’s prior learning is similar to adding a turbine supercharger to a four-cylinder education engine. After reviewing data collected from 62,475 students at 48 postsecondary institutions in a PLA study, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) shows that PLA students have better academic outcomes.
Climbing higher up the pyramid is a next-level opportunity to stimulate K-12 learning by concentrating on the combined strengths of parent involvement (PI) and interactive methodology (IM). A Need for More Role Models?” in the Journal of College Science Teaching, PI is the ultimate role model.
Students will enjoy learning and be motivated to learn if they are taught by a motivated role model who is of great influence to the student, such as a parent. Teachers and school counselors who encourage PI are more likely to receive the respect of both the student and parents. PI is significant because, as the education process continues, students gain confidence in discussing science with others long after school dismissal in the best learning environment – their homes. The final pyramid step is technology or IM – the ultimate evolutionary process. IM combines every level of technology that is available to the student in the school and home environments. Advancing a student’s sensory ability by using methodology fueled by technology stimulates levels of importance associated with STEM learning. IM becomes the natural byproduct and lowest common denominator linking STEM educators, researchers and students, establishing unlimited inspirational learning. Each level of learning becomes more exciting than the previous.
As seen above, the pyramid design has a foundation in STEM educated teachers and school counselors, who are trained with a robust student assessment process that aims for understanding a student’s prior learning. Including PI and adapting to IM are also vital. Using this model, we have a fighting chance with the benefits of STEM education and entrepreneurial thinking, resulting in a culture prepared to create good jobs.
Read the entire article featured in Career College Central Magazine, September 2012 addition page 50, and the entire article can be download by clicking (STEM WITH DR. PETE LINK).
by AMERICAN WRITER Dr. Pietro Savo Tradition Books Publication © 2012
Manufacturing Research Practitioner ™ by Dr. Pietro Savo
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