STEM fields or STEM education is an acronym for the fields of study in the categories of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Industry leaders, including the National Academy of Science and the National Association of Manufacturers, argue that there is a shortage of STEM workers. By 2018, 5% of all jobs in Minnesota will be STEM jobs; this represents a 13% increase in STEM jobs versus the number in 2008.
Yet, other industry leaders contest that STEM talent far outpaces available jobs and as a result, the promotion of STEM is leading gifted students down a path of limited career prospects.
A 2011 study by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce claims that the STEM pipeline gap is real but that it is more complex than traditionally claimed. The gap, which grows larger every year, can be tied to talent diversions to other professionals (e.g. healthcare) and to the lack of consistent K-12 performance in our nation’s school systems.
The K-12 performance gap is a risk that both proponents and opponents of the argument agree can lead to a STEM knowledge gap.