Why is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) significant?
Not only is the STEM workforce vitally important to keeping America globally competitive, we do not have enough people working in STEM to meet the demand.
According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, occupations in STEM fields are the second-fastest growing in the nation, just behind health care. The number of STEM jobs will grow 26 percent between 2010 and 2020. It is predicted that the United States will have more than 8.6 million STEM-related jobs available in 2018, but the National Math and Science Initiative warns that as many as three million of those jobs might be unfilled.
To close that three million worker gap, it is crucial to address the disparities in STEM education. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, 18 percent of undergraduate computing and information science degrees are awarded to women.
In 2009, 24% percent of the scientists and engineers in the United States were women. Nationally, women earn 41% of the doctorates in STEM fields today, but make up only 28% of tenure-track faculty in those fields. At UMass Lowell, of the 415 current tenure-track faculty, 49% are in STEM fields (excluding Social & Behavioral Sciences, SBS).