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Revisiting the STEM Workforce

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The cover of the new National Science Board report.

A new report by the National Science Board looks at the U.S. workforce involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Credit: National Science Board

A new report by the National Science Board (NSB) examines the U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce.

The report says in 2010, 16.5 million individuals reported their job required at least a bachelor's degree-level of science and engineering expertise, representing about three times the number of individuals working in occupations classified as science and engineering.

"New industries and the growing importance of STEM skills in jobs not traditionally thought of as STEM, means that we must revisit what we mean by a 'STEM worker,'" says NSB chairman Dan Arvizu.

Depending on the definition used, today's STEM workforce includes employees across a wide swath of disciplines and job arenas, possessing everything from non-degree certifications to Ph.D.s. The report notes the workforce can even include individuals without a STEM degree who work in STEM jobs. What is typically called the STEM workforce is a complex aggregate of "sub-workforces," the report says.

The report also notes career pathways tend not to be linear for individuals with STEM knowledge and skills. "Ensuring access to high-quality education and training experiences for all students at all levels and for all workers at all career stages, is absolutely essential," Arvizu says.

From National Science Foundation
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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