4 Steps We Can Take To Revive Our Nation’s STEM Talent Pool
It seems like everyone wants someone to blame for the problems of today’s world—and our nation’s dwindling STEM workforce is one such problem. With a lack of qualified workers at the right price, companies are struggling to fill critical roles in a timely manner. Not being able to fill these roles is part of what has prevented us from being early adopters and innovators—not just struggle to play catch up to compete in the global market.
So who is responsible for reviving the STEM talent pool? The source of the problem—and thus, the solution—lies on our nation as a whole. H-1 and other visas may be a hot button, but it’s far more complicated than that. As a nation, we’ve fallen behind, and now we have to recover together, too. It will take a concerted effort to train our younger generation in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, and we need to start taking some aggressive steps to lead the charge.
Start With Primary Education
With global competition and the current workforce shortage in the U.S., it’s not a surprise that we need to start revamping our education system and what our children are learning from a young age. We may be making progress, but we need to make serious curriculum changes and incorporate college and corporate involvement from a young age. Parent and student involvement needs to not only match the school system’s progress but surpass, demand, and support it. We fell behind as a group and now it’s time to recover as a group—and that needs to start by changing the way we view our children’s primary education. It shouldn’t just be to gain comprehension of science or math in order to pass a test and for only a few weeks. We need to be inspiring kids and igniting a passion in them for all that science and technology can mean for their lives, careers, and futures.
Integrate Technology With New Majors
College loans and tuition may even need to be given based on the potential return on investment. We need to encourage our youth to use college as a stepping stone for current and future successes by trying to tie majors back to technology. For example, we all know marketing has now become digital marketing. Foreign language students can also take computer languages. Engineer students should be learning artificial intelligence; finance majors should be learning business automation and business intelligence. This is not to discount the continued need for liberal arts support—which is still present—but we also need to aggressively attack the STEM issue from all angles, and that can start by tying science and technology to new majors.
Have Corporations Focus On Aptitude, Not Just Experience
U.S. corporations used to hire based on aptitude and attitude. At some point it switched to everyone needing the concrete experience a company was looking for while we turned to offshore resources for both a cheaper cost of labor and perceived expertise. We need to look for cheaper labor sources in the U.S. (recent HS and college grads) that we can train and consider a candidate’s aptitude, not just experience. The benefits of being able to actually train those employees on the way your company runs is invaluable, and if someone has the aptitude and skill set for the job, we need to be taking that into consideration as well as experience.
Re-frame Our Priorities
American parents are willing to spend thousands of dollars on sports at all levels, but won’t spend the equivalent on an early education and secondary education to create future success. At work or social gatherings we constantly hear about successful athletes and even student athletes—but we rarely hear about the students completing research projects or contributing to major studies. We need to encourage the younger generation to be proud of their education and major in something meaningful. Continuous learning and improvement is beneficial not just to our economy and the STEM talent pool, but for individual fulfilment and our children’s success.
If your company needs help finding the right talent, contact us today! For more career tips and advice check out Versique’s blog.
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