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What exactly is STEM, and why should we care about it?

STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has become extremely important in our society, and its relevance is only expected to increase in the future. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, the government agency that keeps track of numbers on job growth and related topics, notes that employment in STEM-related jobs grew at a much more rapid rate from 2005 to 2015 than employment in non-STEM positions. These numbers indicate that the rate of employment growth for jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields during that decade was 24.4 percent, as opposed to a 4.1 percent growth rate in other jobs. The department expects that STEM jobs will continue to grow at a rate of 8.9 percent over the next decade.

Those who work in STEM jobs also tend to earn higher annual salaries than those working in non-STEM jobs, the Office of the Chief Economist notes. In 2015, for example, people working in STEM jobs typically earned an average of 29 percent more per year than those working in non-STEM jobs.

STEM is Everywhere

STEM is not only important in the work that we do, but it also has become a large part of our world.:

  • Science is vitally important in issues all around us, everywhere we look – from taking care of animals to conserving the planet’s resources, to coming up with new medical treatments for diseases and conditions.

  • Technology has evolved into such a critical aspect of our day-to-day routines. We could not travel to many places without GPS technology, for example, or keep in touch with friends and loved ones without our smartphones.

  • Engineering helps to keep our entire world together and functioning properly. The bridges and roads we travel every day, as well as the school buildings in which we spend our daytime hours, have been created by the talents and intelligence of engineers. The solar panels and other energy-saving modifications to our homes are also in place thanks to engineers.

  • Mathematics is involved in virtually every activity in which we participate. In cooking, for example, we must be able to measure and convert units so that we can create the perfect recipe. In building a house, we must be able to calculate areas and other measurements to construct buildings that will withstand nature’s forces.


Learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

These factors help to explain why STEM education is so relevant today. Being educated and able to get a job in a well-paying, fulfilling, promising STEM field is one way in which adults are trying to make that an option for more kids. Many are coming together to create ways that kids can have access to the best STEM education possible.

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