An Emphasis on STEM
According to a recent study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education & Workforce, eight million U.S. jobs will be available in STEM fields. Nationally, overall employment is projected to grow 9.6 percent from 2010 to 2020. Connecticut labor analysis projects a similar trend. For example, the Connecticut Department of Labor projects the need for 54% more biomedical engineers, but report after report shows that the next generation of American employees will be unprepared for these jobs.
Of 34 industrialized countries, American students rank 17th in science and 25th in math scores. This gap between demand and supply limits our nation’s ability to solve the complex problems of our time, inhibits the innovation required to remain competitive, and results in severe long-term economic consequences for our country.
However, this situation also provides Connecticut with a unique opportunity.
Next Generation Connecticut will have a tremendous impact on the reversal of these trends and grow Connecticut’s STEM workforce to enable our state to compete effectively in the global marketplace. According to the National Academy of Engineering, two-thirds of the growth in our GDP has its roots in STEM. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that:
- STEM jobs grew 3 times faster than non-STEM jobs in the last decade;
- STEM jobs are projected to continue to grow by 17 percent (2008 to 2018), as compared to 10 percent in non-STEM;
- It is anticipated that approximately 20 percent of the STEM workforce is over the age of 55 and may retire over the next 10 years.
For these reasons, increasing our STEM enrollment, hiring additional STEM faculty, doubling our research funding, and constructing and renovating STEM facilities comprise the components of this bold proposal.