The Union Recorder

Editorials

July 2, 2014

STEM education is crucial to our communal future

MILLEDGEVILLE — One of the first of what is hoped to be a long run of programs geared toward engaging young local minds in science and technology wrapped up last week.

The STEM forensic summer programs for middle school students concluded with presentations from the participants last Friday. The high school program concluded last month at the Central State Hospital campus as well.

Area middle school and high school students participating in the program were part of the first-ever STEM Forensic Summer Academy, created by CAPS-ATL and the newly formed Georgia based non-profit STEMversity. The academy includes students from Georgia College Early College, Baldwin, Putnam and Georgia Military Academy.

Not only is this program bringing new activity to the CSH campus, it is also helping to pique the interests of area students in fields they may have otherwise overlooked or been hesitant to pursue.

The career opportunities, however, run the gamut.

National studies indicate that there are existing jobs in the science and technology fields that are going unfilled due to a technology gap.

With a nationwide focus these days on science and technology-related fields and ways to promote them among today’s high school students, Baldwin High School was recently recognized for its efforts to help in filling the gap.

According to the United States Department of Commerce, over the past 10 years jobs in STEM fields have grown three times as fast as jobs in non-STEM fields. STEM fields are expected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared to just 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM fields in the same timeframe.

Projections indicate that over the next decade alone, the U.S. must produce approximately 1 million more STEM-degree graduates than currently projected to meet the demands of the economy, according to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

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