Why STEM Education and Careers Matter

This time of year is exciting for many reasons; for millions of Americans, however, it’s especially exciting, as it’s currently graduation season.

In 2014, well over 3.7 million Americans graduated from college, and according to the US Department of Education, American students are “graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before.”

This means that families around the country have a lot to be proud of; it also means that more and more young Americans will be in need of employment. Considering the amount of work put into pursuing higher education, and the cost of earning a degree, most recent graduates can’t wait long to find a job.

There’s one industry in which long-term employment is almost a certainty, wages are well above average, and the rewards are limitless: Manufacturing. According to NAM, the average manufacturing worker earned $77,506 in 2013. Furthermore, as businesses of all sizes continue to boom throughout the country, manufacturers and construction companies are hiring in record numbers, and are eager to continue adding to their staff.

What this means is that, simply put, manufacturing is an excellent career choice for young people. Companies are looking to hire, and they are specifically looking for people educated in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math.  According to the Department of Commerce, STEM careers have grown three times faster than non-STEM careers in the past ten years*, yet the amount of people enrolling in these programs has not risen accordingly.

Therefore, it’s important for parents, communities, schools, and educators to actively encourage young people to pursue these fields, to learn and prepare themselves for the limitless opportunities that exist out there. As our economy continues to improve, businesses continue to grow, and construction continues to boom, there will only be more opportunities, and now is the time for people to prepare. While there are increasingly more and more government programs put in place to encourage STEM education, we can all do our part—opening our doors, showing people what we make and do, and shedding light on the value of a STEM career.

As graduation season is upon us, take the time to show young people the lifetime of success they can expect from a career in manufacturing.

*http://www.devry.edu/stemready/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/STEM-Assembly-Fact-Sheet_FINAL.pdf