I hear it over and over again, whether it’s from manufacturers or researchers or teachers or parents: we need to do more to prepare our students for jobs of the 21st Century. As I’ve visited with manufacturers, they tell me that they’re finding it increasingly difficult to hire workers with the right skill sets, while many recent graduates struggle to find good-paying jobs.
That’s why I’m very proud that the STEM Education Act I co-authored—and includes part of my STEM Jobs Act--passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives this past Monday. The bill supports computer science education, continues funding for out-of-the-classroom learning in museums and science centers, and expands teacher professional development opportunities in the STEM fields—that’s science, technology, engineering, and math.
We know that jobs in the STEM fields are in high demand, particularly in our globally competitive world. It’s estimated that by 2020, there will be 4.2 million information technology jobs in America, and engineering jobs will grow by over 11 percent. And workers in STEM fields earn higher wages, receiving 26 percent more on average than their non-STEM counterparts.
It’s so important that we get our children excited about science and math at a young age. This is particularly true for women and students of color, who are underrepresented in the STEM fields, whether it’s in manufacturing or at a company like Google or Microsoft. I strongly believe that STEM education can play a critical role in expanding opportunity for all students and help reduce the persistent and harmful income inequality in this country.
Despite the partisan gridlock in Congress, our STEM Education Act received unanimous support in the U.S. House of Representatives. And I’ll be advocating for its passage in the Senate so it can head to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
STEM education is so important for our children and our country, and I’m proud to say we took a small but meaningful step forward this year.
For updates on Elizabeth’s work and her re-election campaign, visit her website http://elizabethesty.com/, “Like” her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EstyforCongress, and follow her on Twitter at @Elizabeth_Esty