Insights and Trends - STEM Recruiting
Insights and Trends - STEM Recruiting
As STEM fields continue to grow and expand, educators and corporations are directing their search for new employees with an increased emphasis on soft skills and the growing number of blue-collar jobs in the field along with working to address the lack of diversity and inclusion within STEM fields concerning gender and race.
Emphasis on soft skills and the future of blue-collar positions in STEM
- An increasing number of companies are seeking to expand the number of students interested in "blue-collar" STEM positions which may not require undergraduate or advanced degrees but still demand specified training.
- Dr. Victor McCrary, a member of the National Science Board, said the NSB needs to focus on the growth of the 'blue-collar STEM' workers by appealing to more students through internships, apprenticeships, and non-college tracks along with undergraduates.
- STEM leaders have also called for an increase in mid-level technicians, including Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China’s research arm, who predicted that artificial intelligence would replace white-collar jobs faster than blue-collar positions.
- Since there a number of growing fields that require specific training, including solar and wind power, Nicole Smith, the chief economist at Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, said more students should be encouraged to obtain industry-based certifications since those will carry currency in their specific field.
- The Program 100kin10 has more than 200 partners working to create 100,000 new STEM teachers by 2021 by embracing a "whole child" approach to learning that goes beyond hard skills by embracing experimentation and social learning during in-person and virtual learning events.
- Janesville Schools in southern Wisconsin has implemented a plan to offer specialized skills to high schoolers so they can enter the workforce with the training necessary for current openings and capitalizing on two-year technical degrees and certifications, which is particularly apt in their local economy as it shifts away from manufacturing jobs.
Addressing Underrepresentation of Women In STEM
- The gender disparity in STEM opportunities has been an issue for several years, but there is a growing push for equality by a number of non-profits, companies, and universities to target younger girls in order to expose them to science, mathematics, technology, and engineering.
- One format to address this disparity is focusing on revamping educational content to become more inclusive of different genders by emphasizing more interdisciplinary approaches and focusing on real life adaptations of the material to encourage girls to explore the field.
- The STEM Education for Girls at The Harpeth Hall School incorporates these findings by recruiting girls from across Nashville, with particular focus on underserved areas, to help them understand engineering challenges by designing safe stoves and utensils for use during the rainy season to help women in the rural community of Lwala, Kenya.
- The National Girls Collaborative developed a program which targets both girls and women to strengthen STEM-related opportunities by maximizing access to resources and collaborating with national and local organizations focused on industries from wind power to space exploration.
- The National Action Council For Minorities In Engineering expanded the diversity of STEM by holding the first Design Ideation Camp at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering Makerspace to address the growing relationship between fashion and technology by exploring non-traditional uses for STEM degrees with fashion mogul Rebecca Minkoff.
- Lockheed Martin launched a pilot program with Girls Inc. which matches company volunteers with girls ages 9-12 to help increase their confidence in STEM education through events, mentorship, and resources.
Increased outreach to marginalized groups
- Experts said renewed focus should be placed on minority students' early experiences with STEM after an academic paper found Black and Hispanic students who attended a four-year college were more likely than white students to take at least one STEM course during their first year and even complete a STEM degree if they were prepared and supported by their family.
- Educators also noted this employment gap could be decreased by targeting more students from community colleges to work in STEM positions that don't require undergraduate degrees.
- PEW Research said Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in the STEM workforce relative to their shares in the U.S. workforce as a whole, aside from the sole exception of health care practitioners and technicians, so future employers should look to diversify in more fields aside from health care.
- JobTrain has incorporated this angle by working with minorities and highly marginalized populations, including formerly incarcerated people, in Silicon Valley to help prepare them for emerging STEM-related fields by partnering with local tech companies. Their projects include a youth services program which provides paid work experience and job placement opportunities with funding from the 1998 Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act. CEO Barry Hathaway said the company provides a number of on-ramp solutions for locals in the California tech-headquarters to help shorten the time from training to employment.
- Adams State University hosts a Migrant STEM Academy which offers 25 Hispanic students from Colorado middle schools, including many first-generation migrants, the opportunity to meet and learn from STEM professors about robotics, mathematics, and hydrology.
- The National Society of Black Engineers partners with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) chapter of the Society of Women Engineers to help expand access to children seeing Black and minority STEM leaders currently active in the field to help expose them to new opportunities and role models.
We began by investigating media reports about new programs and conferences specializing in education and recruiting for STEM positions. This uncovered several major trends that companies and educational institutions were working to address in their current workforce and with younger students. We then explored those by using scholarly articles, presentations, panels, media reports, and more. The sources used in that research included but were not limited to: Forbes, Fast Company, U.S. News Stem Solutions, Recruiting Daily, National Association of Colleges and Employers, US Black Engineer, Modern Hire, Pew Research, Stanford University Science Of Outreach.
Coordinating between the various sources, researchers were able to narrow the field into the three described trends after finding repeated correlations between the issues of gender disparity in tech, underrepresentation of minorities, and the need to diversify what is considered a STEM job by the mainstream with a push for more "blue-collar" positions.