Nationally, the forecast demand for science and engineering occupations is projected to grow at more than double (20.6 percent) the rate of the overall U.S. labor force.
There are hundreds of open engineering jobs in oil and gas and other open technology jobs in Oklahoma. We should be teaching our kids geoscience in high school. They should be learning computer science. We ought to be offering them classes in JAVA and Magenta programming.
The message is straightforward. If we want our kids to be able to compete for the good jobs of the future (i2E's advanced technology clients average salary is $70,643 compared to the Oklahoma average of $37,246), we have to do our part as parents to get them interested and educated in technical disciplines and problem solving today.
Gov. Fallin's STEM Conference was a great first step. Now, the challenge is to keep the momentum rolling!
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
DID YOU KNOW?
Since 2004, the expressed overall interest in STEM majors and careers among high school seniors has increased by more than 20 percent. However, high school seniors are about 10 percent less likely than freshman to indicate interest.