Grow STEM Opportunities through Active Industry Involvement
In the Quality Progress October issue, I co-authored an editorial with Glenn Walters on the need for quality professionals to speak up in their companies for industry’s active involvement in support of K-16 education. We advocated for a 3-part plan of collaboration with schools and the community-- through K-12 outreach, co-ops/internships and support of capstone projects.
There have been blogs questioning whether we really have a shortage of STEM graduates from colleges. Unbelievable! If you talk to a manufacturer CEO, one usually hears that the company cannot find the workers it needs. If you look at the statistics of the percent of STEM graduates compared to all bachelor graduates, the percentage in the U.S. is lower than in some other countries.
In addition, Bayer recently conducted a survey of talent recruiters. Bayer scientists found that talent recruiters believe that it is a competitive environment to fill STEM positions. Does it have an impact on business? Yes. “talent recruiters from STEM and non-STEM companies alike believe that the unfilled positions cause lower productivity, set limits to business growth, and result in lower revenue.”
In our article, we encouraged companies to look at their strategic plans and then decide on the focus of their collaborations. Some companies may want to focus more on working with the schools and community to develop stronger connections with schools and bring their expertise to the schools both to encourage and work with teachers and to be role models for middle school students. Other companies will want to focus more on internships and co-ops. It is becoming more evident that in the current shortage of STEM graduates, that if a company supports an intern or co-op student, that there is a good chance of recruiting the student after he/she graduates. When STEM students have a difficult time finding a summer job, a summer internship will encourage students to complete their degree and provide critical knowledge about the STEM workplace and STEM careers. With the high cost of tuition, it is a win-win situation for both the student and sponsoring company.