For the past 10 years, the U.S. has put a strong focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, but there is still a serious shortage of workers. In the fourth annual STEM survey by Emerson released on August 21, 2 out of 5 Americans believe the STEM worker shortage is at crisis levels.
While the survey found students today are twice as likely to study STEM fields compared to their parents, the number of roles requiring STEM expertise is growing at a rate that exceeds current workforce capacity.
In manufacturing alone, the National Association of Manufacturing and Deloitte predict the U.S. will need to fill about 3.5 million jobs by 2025; yet as many as 2 million of those jobs may go unfilled, due to difficulty finding people with the skills in demand.
As the perception of STEM careers shifts to include manufacturing, about 3 out of 4 (74%) respondents said they believe manufacturing jobs are important to the U.S. economy, with 6 out of 10 (62%) agreeing that manufacturers should do more to train and prepare their STEM workforce.
Survey results show the industry has made some positive strides in STEM awareness, but there are opportunities to improve. Only only 1 in 3 adults (33%) believe teachers currently have the resources they need to provide a quality STEM education. Less than 50% of parents say their daughter is encouraged to pursue a STEM career. This encouragement gap represents a significant opportunity, as nearly half of respondents (48 %) expect the number of STEM jobs in the U.S. will grow in the next decade.
Emerson is helping address this issue by partnering with universities and technical colleges, providing hands-on digital worker experience for current students and to reskill workers. Two of Emerson’s recent educational investments include a manufacturing incubator facility at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis and an automation technology center, to be named the Emerson Advanced Automation Laboratory, at Texas A&M College of Engineering.
And the company has created a program called “We Love STEM” which partners with YouTube’s self-proclaimed science nerd Hank Green.