Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
In 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first orbiting satellite into space. This event galvanized the need for increased STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in the United States. In the decades since, investment and interest in science and mathematics education as a foundation of American competitiveness and national security have waxed and waned. Since the early 1990s, various task forces have stated that American students are not receiving the academic preparation and encouragement that are required for innovative work and contributions in STEM fields.
Projections for the next 10 years and beyond indicate that the fastest growing jobs are in STEM fields. Occupations within STEM increased 8% in over 10 years (2000-2010) and are expected to grow twice as fast by the year 2018, while non-stem jobs will only grow by 10%. California currently has 894,000 STEM jobs, and these are expected to increase to 1.1 million jobs by 2018, a 19% increase. By 2018, STEM jobs will account for 6% of the total California workforce, with a majority of these jobs in Technology and Engineering.
As California’s economy has become more knowledge based, STEM employment opportunities are increasing at a faster rate than non-STEM employment. Unfortunately, California is currently not on track to have the domestic workforce in place to enter these jobs. Over a six year period, California ranking for students completing a four year degree in a STEM field fell from 14th highest in the nation to 45th. Against the national average over that six year period, California awarded 40% fewer degrees in the STEM field. Without a properly trained STEM workforce, California will need to look to national and international students and young professionals to come to California to enter these jobs.
California is not educating and preparing enough individuals in the STEM field to meet the challenges that businesses located in California will face while competing in a global economy. In order to address this problem, solutions should be implemented both through legislation as well as through partnerships with private sector employers to ensure a suitable domestic workforce that is able to enter STEM professions. [LEARN MORE]
Below is STEM related legislation that I have introduced to develop resources and expand STEM education:
SR 30 (2007-08) - Supports increasing incentives for graduates with STEM degrees to teach STEM courses for k-12 students.
AB 937 (2005-06) - Encourage a school board to designate a science teacher to act as a science resource teacher.
AB 462 (2001-02) - Would provide a 50% tax credit for individuals or companies that lend employees to schools to teach science or math.