WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. News & World Report together with Innovate + Educate, STEMconnector™, and over 40 key organizations representing industry and education, will hold a major national event to focus policymakers and the public on the critical shortage of STEM skills in the American workforce. The three-day session called STEM Summit 2012 convenes at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on June 27, 28, and 29 and will explore solutions and successes in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as the pathways to jobs.
Following its successful STEM Summit 2011 at the National Press Club, the 2012 "STEM Means Jobs" event will draw thousands of participants, bringing together industry, government and associations with educators, top policymakers, and media. U.S. businesses are alarmed by the declining supply of STEM-trained workers. Many STEM-related jobs are going unfilled despite high unemployment.
"STEM education and science-related jobs are one of the nation's most critical issues," according to Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News. "There is much good work being done in different parts of the country, but it is essential to bring the best people and the best practices together. We want to highlight the most successful programs and help shape greater awareness of how important STEM education is for so many segments of society, including for women and economically disadvantaged communities. If we don't get better at this, we're going to miss the future."
Reflecting the urgency of the issue, major organizations were eager to lend support. The first National Co-Chairs include: Aerospace Industries Association (AIA); Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America (ASTRA); American Institute of Architects (AIA); American Geophysical Union (AGU); American Society for Engineering Education; Business and Industry STEM Education Coalition (BISEC); The Business Roundtable; Center for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL); Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD); Change the Equation; Coalition for Science Afterschool (CSAS); College Board; The Conrad Foundation; Converge US; Entertainment Industries Council; Corporate Voices for Working Families; Governing.com; Great Minds in STEM; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); Hispanic College Fund; Institute for a Competitive Workforce (U.S. Chamber of Commerce); Jobs for the Future; The Manufacturing Institute (of the National Association of Manufacturers); National Association for Equal Employment in Higher Education (NAFEO); National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT); National Conference of State Legislatures; National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA); National Girls Collaborative; NMSI; National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA); Project Lead the Way; TechNET; and Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES).
Over the past ten years, growth in jobs needing STEM skills was three times that of other sectors. The Commerce Department projects those jobs will continue to outpace other sectors over the next ten years. Those jobs include many specialized fields such as computer engineering that are among the highest paying in the country, but also include attractive entry-level positions such as computer technicians.
"Technology and innovation are key drivers to economic growth and jobs," said John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable. "U.S. workforce training has to catch up to a global economy where more and more jobs require STEM training. CEO's and education leaders have an important role to play in linking STEM education to job creation."
"We believe this Summit is critical to bringing industry, policy, and education thought leaders together to create a collective impact to advance the future STEM workforce that will move our economy forward," said Jami Grindatto, Intel Corporation and chairman of Innovate+Educate. "We are pleased to partner with STEMconnector™ and U.S. News for this important conversation that will develop into action for our nation."
Intel is a founding sponsor along with Lockheed Martin, Monster, CSC and Ingersoll Rand. Each organization has a significant presence in promoting STEM education and careers.
"Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with Innovate+Educate and summit partners in highlighting national-level efforts that bring the excitement of science and technology to students," said Dr. Ray O. Johnson, the company's chief technology officer. "As a global security company, we understand the importance of fostering the next generation of innovators. A diverse technical workforce is vital to the success of our corporation and to our competitiveness as a nation."
The conference will organize the broad array of STEM workforce issues from how to engage middle school students to how technology can better link job openings with skill sets, connecting educators with job creators. A key challenge will be increasing public awareness of STEM among parents and students. While businesses are keenly aware of the shortfall in STEM work skills, most people are unfamiliar with the term STEM, let alone its connection to jobs.
"The entertainment industry and news media are key to creating the mass public awareness needed to inspire young people towards education and spotlight career paths that lead to innovation. We must connect these cornerstones of our economy," said Brian Dyak, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industries Council Inc.
"Connectivity – as exemplified by the STEM Summit -- is a key to smarter organization and linking the millions of stakeholders at all levels," said Dr. Mary Good, chairman of ASTRA and past president of the American Society for the Advancement of Science.
As one example of the breadth of the issues, Ray Mellado, CEO of Great Minds in STEM, focused on the need to advance Hispanic students in the field. "As we focus on the new American students and where they will find jobs, it means looking for new ways to collaborate."
"The work of earth and space scientists touches every aspect of our lives," said Christine McEntee, executive director of the American Geophysical Union. "The future depends on filling the shortage for earth and space scientists."
"Architecture is a STEM career," said Clark Manus, president of the American Institute of Architects. "In particular we are thrilled to be part of a program that will support AIA's ongoing diversity initiative which seeks to engage underrepresented youth about the design profession."
Added Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet: "It's critically important that our next generation of leaders have strong skills in the STEM fields."
Texas officials welcomed the conference, stressing the strong technology sector in the state and Dallas region as well as a progressive approach to education in U.S. News's recent ranking of Best High Schools for Math and Science; two were in Dallas and one in Houston.
"I am excited about the city of Dallas hosting this national STEM conference," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "Schools with a math and science emphasis are especially key to the success of our workforce, our economic growth and our future."
A Dallas host committee for STEM Summit 2012 is being formed by Innovate+Educate board member Eric Reeves.
For additional information on sponsorship opportunities, exhibition space and registration, visit http://usnewsstemsummit.com/. Follow STEM Summit 2012 on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/STEMsummit.
U.S. News & World Report is a print and digital publisher of news and information in the areas of politics, policy, education, health care, personal finance and other topics of consumer interest.
Innovate+Educate is a national non-profit led by Fortune 500 companies with a goal of aligning STEM education and workforce efforts on a state-by-state basis.
STEMconnector is a resource center and network that helps bring together the many STEM projects around the country with a website of more than 3,000 organizations dedicated to STEM education; jobs and diversity are key priorities.
SOURCE U.S. News & World Report