The 2019 STEMconnector Summit was held at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC on May 2, 2019. MIND and other member organizations from across the country gathered for a day of sharing ideas and discussion about the state of STEM in the US, as well as ongoing efforts to improve STEM education and better equip the future STEM workforce.
This new report was built on STEMconnector’s previously-released State of STEM report, which identified five STEM talent gaps: fundamental skills, beliefs, postsecondary education, as well as geographic and demographic gaps. Input to Impact featured contributions from professionals, educators, researchers, policy makers and organizations across STEM-related fields, including MIND’s Chief Data Science Officer, Andrew Coulson.
The report defined success as “a diverse and STEM-ready talent pool with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets needed to secure and succeed in careers today and in the future. An individual student, jobseeker, or employee in STEM cannot succeed in isolation. Systems – and the people within them – are aligned, equipped, and focused in supporting STEM talent pathways.”
According to a 2018 Emerson survey, 2 in 5 Americans believe the STEM worker shortage is at crisis levels, with predictions of as many as 2 million STEM jobs going unfilled by 2025. Facing these numbers, our individual contributions to the STEM ecosystem may seem insignificant, but this is why events such as the STEMconnector Summit and their report are so important.
Attending the summit with approximately 200 other individuals representing organizations within this ecosystem was not only eye-opening, but also inspiring. Scribbles in my notebook include quotes from many of the thought-leaders in the room. Georgette Kiser, CIO for The Carlyle Group inspired me with her story growing up as an African-American girl who excelled in math and loved problem-solving. Former NASA Astronaut, Greg Johnson shared his unique perspective of seeing earth from space and the impact that STEM education has had and will continue to have in our evolution as stewards of our planet.
The task may be daunting, but we’re definitely not alone. Jeff Schmidt, Director of Integrated Communications at Lockheed Martin summed it up with a simple invitation, “This is going to take all of us. Join the party!”