STEM Initiative

“The Labor Department projects that by 2014 there will be more than 2 million job openings in science, technology, and engineering, while the number of Americans graduating with degrees in those subjects is plummeting.”
- The Economist, April 12, 2008

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranks 17th in science and 25th in mathematics compared to the rest the world. At an early age, American students compete well with global peers in these subjects, but by the end of high school they tend to rank toward the bottom. This mirrors the trend in Missouri, leaving students with a diminished desire to study these subjects and less prepared to succeed in college as well as the global workforce. This negative realization is further supported by Missouri ACT statistics. In 2012, 75% of Missouri high school graduates took the ACT, and of those students only 46% met college readiness benchmarks in math and 33% met benchmarks in science.

By the year 2018, the number of Missouri’s STEM-related jobs is set to increase by 143,000. Of these jobs, 91% will require at least some college education. This presents a great opportunity to the higher education community to encourage and facilitate programs that ensure students educated in this state fill those jobs.

The Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) continues to support an increase in allocations to the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Fund and other STEM related programs aimed at increasing the educational quality and enrollment.

One proposal for allocating monies to the STEM Fund is through a program in which STEM related industries providing internships for students of Missouri’s 2 or 4-year private or public universities can apply to have up to $5,000 of their state tax liability allocated directly into the STEM fund. This would allow Missouri’s STEM industries to ensure that their tax payment is used by the state in a way that perpetuates the quality of their workforce. Specifically, the STEM fund will include funding for endowed teaching professor programs, scholarship programs that provide financial aid or loan forgiveness awards, experiential youth programs at public colleges/universities, and career enhancement programs for current elementary and secondary teachers and professors at Missouri public and private colleges and universities.

ASUM, representing all 75,044 students of the University of Missouri, support STEM related legislation because of its importance, not only to students, but also to the state of Missouri as a whole. We want increased attention to the STEM fields in Missouri so when our peers graduate, they have a competitive understanding of their field, experience in state-of-the-art facilities, and a number of great employment opportunities here in Missouri.

 Summary:

  • ASUM strongly supports an increase in Missouri’s investment in higher education for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • According to The Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America, 143,000 STEM-related jobs will need to be filled in Missouri by 2018 and 91% of US STEM jobs will require some college education by 2018.

Statistics:

“During the projections period of 2010-2020, STEM occupations requiring the completion of a Bachelor’s degree or long-term experience is projected to increase by 11.4%, while those similarly qualified non STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8.2%.”

– Missouri Department of Economic Development

RESOURCES

  • The STEM Education Coalition works to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs for teachers and students. They represent all sectors of the technological workforce- from knowledge workers to educators, to scientists, engineers, and technicians.
  • The University of Missouri Science & Technology offers several summer programs and pre-college programs for interested students.