Why STEM Matters to Every American

Why STEM matters to every American? Today’s manufacturing industry paints a very different picture than it did 50 years ago, and just as different as even ten years ago. Earlier in the century, it was an industry whose jobs were of course important, but often repetitive and low-skill. Ten years ago, the industry’s jobs were being taken over by cheaper, overseas labor, as outsourcing was becoming the norm.

Now, manufacturing is making a major comeback in America. Companies both large and manufacturingday11small are realizing that making goods at home means higher quality products, and they’re also seeing that outsourcing was not the financial windfall they thought it would be, and that people around the globe put more trust in American-made goods.

One of the reasons is that our country’s manufacturing industry is a global leader in innovation and technology. Which also means that today’s manufacturing jobs are exciting careers that require skills and knowledge, and are anything but menial. So this is all good news, right?

Yes—except for one major problem; as businesses grow, technology soars, and demand for skilled workers continues, there aren’t enough people to fill the jobs. It’s projected that careers in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—will be the fastest growing jobs in America, yet hundreds of thousands of promising manufacturing jobs are going unfilled.

One of the main reasons is a lack of STEM education and preparedness in our country’s youth. Only 16% of high school seniors are considered proficient in math and science.* Furthermore, only a quarter of today’s STEM workers are women**, which means that while American students are not being trained in and getting excited about STEM careers, American girls are truly not being reached.

Luckily, there are many private, federal, and state programs focusing on this disconnect. The STEM Education Coalition works aggressively with communities and government leaders, while Million Women Mentors focuses specifically on getting young girls interested in STEM. On the federal level, the Committee on STEM Education is working on a national strategy for enhancing STEM education.

The fact is, our country’s economic future depends on manufacturing, and manufacturing’s future depends on a skilled, prepared, capable workforce. Now is the time to build that workforce and show America’s children how exciting, rewarding, and important manufacturing is.

For a financial guide on transitioning into a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics career, visit



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