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ERIC Number: ED527256
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Creating the Workforce of the Future: The STEM Interest and Proficiency Challenge. BHEF Research Brief
Business-Higher Education Forum (NJ1)
A strong economy requires a highly educated workforce, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. In the United States, STEM degree production has stagnated, despite employment projections forecasting a 17% growth in the field over the next decade. Two key criteria influence progression through the STEM education pipeline and into the workforce: proficiency and interest. Research has shown that students who graduate high school proficient in math are generally ready to pursue STEM majors in college. In addition to academic preparation, however, students must also be interested in STEM fields. Analysis of 12th grade students' STEM interest and proficiency produces sobering results: (1) Too few 12th grade students are both STEM interested and math proficient; (2) Twelfth graders have low STEM interest even when math proficient; (3) African-Americans are least likely to pursue undergraduate STEM degrees; and (4) Minorities are more likely to be STEM interested but not math proficient. Current interest in STEM fields and proficiency in math are not sufficient to meet U.S. workforce demand. As the country's population becomes increasingly diverse, gender and race/ethnicity disparities in STEM interest and proficiency will exacerbate workforce challenges. Policy interventions will require a nuanced two-pronged approach focused on increasing STEM interest and improving math proficiency. (Contains 2 figures and 2 footnotes.)
Business-Higher Education Forum. 2025 M Street NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-367-1189; Fax: 202-367-2269; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 12; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Business-Higher Education Forum