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Connect and serve as resource for STEM students and teachers

April 8, 2014

Connect and serve as resource for STEM students and teachers
By Russ Matthys and Kevin Kielb
 
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and teachers need our help! 
 
Programs have been established to assist STEM teachers by providing opportunities for engineers and public works professionals to participate with students. Through these interactions, we can make a difference in the students' lives as they experience firsthand what a public works career has to offer them.
 
Working together, we can deliver relevant, engaging educational opportunities. Programs have been developed and are included on the www.getSTEM.com website for our use. Using these proven programs, we can help students stay connected to meaningful learning and leave high school prepared to continue their education to develop into civil engineers and public works professionals.
 
You can sign up as a potential resource by going to www.getSTEM-mn.com and creating a profile as a business professional. Participation in one of these programs has now been made very easy. The getSTEM website matches STEM needs with STEM resources in just minutes. Opportunities to assist with a STEM program will be listed on the web site. E-mail requests may also be sent to you. Just look for convenient and relevant requests and offer your assistance. 
 
STEM curriculums have become very popular at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. They are also well regarded -- even to the point of allowing several Minnesota high schools to be ranked nationally. Mahtomedi, Edina, and Minnetonka all currently rank between 100 and 200 in the U.S.
 
The assurance of continued success -- as manifested in the degrees and occupations of STEM students -- requires more than efforts by school districts and teachers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “civil engineers are expected to have employment growth of 19.4 percent (24 percent, according to ASCE) from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.”
 
Spurred by general population growth and the related need to improve the nation’s infrastructure, more civil engineers will be needed to design and construct or expand transportation, water supply, and pollution control systems, and repair or replace existing infrastructure. This demand for civil engineering led this profession to claim the No. 26 spot on the US News & World Report's 2013 list of 100 Best Jobs (No. 9 in category of Best Technology Job). 
 
While most of these jobs will be created by greater demands for services, some job openings will occur to replace those who go to other careers and a great many that leave the labor force through retirement. In the next 5 to 10 years, many of the public works staff we work with will retire. Look around at work and you can verify this for yourself.
 
Estimates show the U.S. will have over 1.2 million unfilled jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by 2018 (U.S. News & World Report's STEM Leadership Summit). These unfilled jobs, including public works occupations, appear to be available to a population that may not be qualified or prepared to do them. 
 
Minnesota, home to a number of competing STEM industries, is in the top 10 in the nation for demand for such employees 
 
Let’s all do our part by helping future generations prepare for these opportunities. Please visit www.getSTEM.com and get connected!

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