Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Massachusetts Growth 'STEMs' from Innovation

The number of children pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and math – recently dubbed “STEM” education – continues to decline globally, but even more in the U.S. According to a 2010 report, baby boomer retirements will reduce the U.S. science and technology workforce by 50 percent by 2020.

Nationally, only 28 percent of high school students taking the SATs indicated an interest in pursuing a STEM career. Here in the Commonwealth, that percentage is 22 percent – shockingly low for a state with our technical reputation.

In 2009, Governor Patrick held a press conference at the MathWorks campus to announce the formation of the STEM Advisory Council, a public/private committee focused on stimulating Massachusetts students’ interest in studies and careers in the STEM disciplines. At the height of the recession, the topic of STEM education took center stage in the Commonwealth for a reason: It spurs the innovation that leads to long-term economic growth.

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This entry is written by Jack Little, President & Co-Founder of Mathworks and a Trustee of the MassTLC. This entry is part of a series of articles by members of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, outlining its action plan for fulfilling its “2020 Challenge,” — adding 100,000 new tech jobs by the end of the decade. Mathworks is a Natick-based mathematical computing software company, and makers of MATLAB and Simulink. More than 1,500 of the company's 2,200 staff are located in Massachusetts.

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