During the State of the Union address earlier this year, President Obama said America should be “offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one.” The president has likely heard what many manufacturing companies say: We need students prepared with the certifications and skills to be productive upon graduation.
At the Chevron Richmond Refinery on Wednesday, the executive director of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) announced a bold goal for the near future: To create 10,000 black engineers in the U.S. annually, along with 40,000 engineers from other minority groups, to help the U.S. meet the growing demand for jobs in our rapidly advancing society.
STEM workers are in fierce demand and not just in the global epicenter of high tech known as Silicon Valley. According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — professions will expand 1.7 times faster than non-STEM occupations between 2010 and 2020.
More African Americans have access to college, but few of them end up earning tech and science degrees. According to the Georgetown study, which was released Tuesday, black students tend to cluster in fields like social work that lead to lower-paying careers. For example, 20 percent of degree holders in human services and community organizing are black, and earn a median salary of about $40,000 per year. By contrast, only 7 percent of those who receive STEM-related bachelor's degrees and earn a median annual salary of $84,000 are black.
The U.S. educational system and job market have a chicken-and-egg relationship: Do changes in the needs of the labor market determine the skills that schools teach? Or, do the ways students are educated force employers to adapt to the types of employees available to them? The reality is that the answer contains a little bit of both. That's why it’s critical that employers understand how educational trends will affect whom and how they hire in the future.
Everyone experiences stress at work, but some jobs involve more overall stress than others. That's especially true for the tech industry, where high demand meets a lack of talent, which results in understaffed IT departments and a lack of support in up and coming areas like big data, security, mobile developers and more.
John Maynard Keynes once famously said that the difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas but in escaping from old ones. And one of the oldest and most pervasive and pernicious economic ideas is that technology kills jobs.
It's a familiar catch-22 for recent grads: to get a job, you need to have experience, but to gain experience, you need to have a job. In his budget for Fiscal Year 2017, President Obama has nearly doubled the amount of money requested for helping workers find that all-important first job, as well as creating a grant competition to encourage communities to develop plans to employ young workers, and a $2 billion apprenticeship training fund, aimed at doubling the number of apprenticeships in the U.S.
Historically, technology creates jobs rather than killing them. Think of ATMs, for example. We doubt this automation would cut jobs off because banks no longer need bank tellers. Surprisingly, these machines have been creating more jobs since 2000. The reason is that ATMs reduce the costs of running any branch, leaving more revenue to create more branches and hire more tellers. As technology evolves and transforms the workplace, workers are urged to increase their knowledge and ability to perform tasks that are more sophisticated.
The White House wants every child in the United States to learn computer science. The president’s plan to reach that goal? Ask Congress to fund a new $4 billion program for states and another $100 million for districts to train teachers and purchase the tools “so that our elementary, middle, and high schools can provide opportunities to learn computer science for all students,” Obama said in his weekly address on January 30.