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STEM Jobs Help America Win the Future

A new report released today by the U.S. Commerce Department highlights the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education on America's innovation and competitiveness.

Highlighting the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and jobs, the U.S. Commerce Department today released a new report profiling U.S. employment in the critical fields that drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness. STEM workers are helping America win the future by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. 

Not surprisingly, President Obama has made STEM education a key priority of his administration, with an ambitious agenda to move American students to the top of the pack internationally in science and math achievement over the next decade.

Initiatives like Race to the Top and the “Educate to Innovate” campaign demonstrate the administration’s ongoing commitment to making sure Americans get the science and technology skills they need to fill the jobs of the future.

STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, by Commerce’s Economics and Statistics Administration, shows that growth in STEM jobs has been three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs over the last 10 years. And throughout the next decade, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent, compared to 9.8-percent growth for other occupations.

This growth underlines why this Administration has made a $206 million commitment toward STEM training and related programs in the 2012 budget.

It’s an investment that will pay off for American families.

In comparison to their non-STEM counterparts, STEM workers earn 26 percent more on average and are less likely to experience joblessness.

Meanwhile, STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings, regardless of their occupation. And no matter what their major, college graduates who work in a STEM job enjoy an earnings premium. 

In 2010, 7.6 million people or 5.5 percent of the labor force, worked in STEM occupations.

Unfortunately, many U.S. businesses have frequently voiced concerns over the supply and availability of STEM workers. Companies operating on the forefront of technological innovation need more of them.

Yet in higher education, only about a third of bachelor’s degrees earned in the United States are in a STEM field, compared with approximately 53 percent of first university degrees earned in China, and 63 percent of those earned in Japan.   

Expanding the participation of students in the STEM fields – including girls, minorities and students with disabilities – is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.  

Investments in basic research and the people who can make great discoveries with new ideas will help drive our technological innovation and global competitiveness. STEM jobs are the jobs of the future, and they are essential to growth in America.