STEMconnector Jobs Report: Understanding STEM and GirlsThis guest post is by Ann Millspaugh, online community manager at the EdLab Group. Prior to joining the EdLab Group, Ann was a project manager and analyst for initiatives advancing digital and educational equity. Her other work experience includes advocacy, training and conference presentation, and informal science education. It is difficult to ignore the ubiquitous requirement for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills needed to succeed in the workplace of today. Nearly 1.5 million computing jobs will be available in the next five years. In 2010, there were 7.6 million STEM jobs, representing 1 in 18 workers. To maintain global competitiveness, the United States needs more students pursuing degrees in STEM fields. However, to interest the broadest audience in STEM subjects, we need educational environments that are relevant, honor different learning styles and preferences, and allow for different frames of reference. The solution does not lie within one curriculum or community, and there is not one single pathway for success. When reviewing the gender gap among STEM professionals, this becomes increasingly evident. Last week, STEMconnector released its report “Where are the STEM Students? What are their Career Interests? Where are the STEM Jobs?” and findings indicate girls’ interest in these fields continues to decline. It is critical that women are equally represented within these realms, yet this deficit is a pervasive issue that has yet to be remedied. The STEMconnector report identifies potential interest in STEM fields at the high school level. Among the highlights:
- There has been a decrease among female interest in STEM careers over the past decade.
- Females show the greatest interest in the sciences: basic science, marine biology, and mathematics/statistics.
- Female students are over twice as likely to be interested in Environmental Science compared to their male counterparts.
- Overall, student interest in STEM decreases as they advance through the school system.
- Collaboration. There are endless initiatives and programs working to inspire girls in STEM. It is critical to facilitate collaboration among these existing programs to reduce duplicated resources and efforts. The National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) encourages existing programs to work together to provide high quality programming. Through professional development events and funding opportunities, programs realize that collaboration often yields the results they are striving to accomplish.
- Gender-neutral STEM education. It is important to utilize strategies that work to engage girls (and boys!) in STEM education. SciGirls offers seven insightful strategies that are based on research and work in both formal and informal educational environments. Learn more here.