Best Metro Areas for STEM Professionals
How can local authorities make their cities more appealing to STEM graduates and technology companies?
Local authorities can make their cities more appealing to STEM companies by improving and expanding programming at the high school level. For example, high school programs should include opportunities for students to earn credits toward associate degrees in STEM fields. High schools and community organizations should work collectively to provide students with opportunities to learn about STEM fields, and the different jobs available. Local authorities should encourage STEM businesses to support high school and college students with career exploration opportunities, internships, and scholarships. In other words, cities need to bring all the links in the chain of success together in order to build a strong STEM infrastructure. This means connecting schools with STEM businesses and universities.
An example of how we do this at Clarkson is our Rise High program. This program connects under-resourced students at Schenectady City Schools with STEM experts from local companies through a Saturday enrichment program. Our students see how the science they are learning in high school applies to real-world careers through the Rise High program.
How can government, employers, and educators increase the number of women and minorities in STEM fields?
The solution to this challenge is systemic because we start to lose our girls early in the educational process. In some cases, girls shift from doing well in STEM classes to doing poorly as early as late elementary and middle school. STEM curriculum needs to be exemplified in a broader range of fields. For example, STEM is in art and design, nutrition, medical support fields, etc. We need to move away from more conventional expressions of STEM expertise to include a wide variety of stem examples. By doing so, a broader range of learners, including girls, will be more likely to see themselves as future STEM professionals. Beyond that, STEM industries need to make themselves more comfortable and welcoming places for women. From human resource policies to work culture, we have a lot of work to do as a society to make the STEM workplace welcoming.
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