CEOs Take on STEM Skills Gap With Own Initiatives

Michele Molnar | Education Week
09/26/13

A group of 100 CEO leaders, honored earlier this year for their work to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, primarily will focus on five strategies as they advance the cause, according to an analysis by one of the CEO's companies.

The leaders—whose businesses represent combined revenues of more than $3.27 trillion, and who employ 7.6 million people—were selected by STEMConnector, an organization that works to identify, inform, and connect entities working in STEM education and careers. The CEOs, who run companies from Accenture to Wal-Mart, were featured in a publication, and the IT company of one of those leaders, Natarajan Chandrasekaran of Tata Consultancy Services, conducted an analysis of the CEOs' responses about STEM to find what commitments they share. The 100 CEOs say they will:

  • Understand and train for critical STEM skills and experiences their organizations need to succeed;
  • Invest in STEM education with public and private organizations, establishing mentorships and apprenticeships;
  • Increase employees' awareness of STEM challenges and establish cross-departmental alignment on STEM company initiatives;
  • Encourage them to get involved with STEM initiatives outside of work to help motivate future STEM employees; and,
  • Change perceptions within their communities by educating students, teachers, career counselors, and parents about the various and promising career opportunities requiring STEM skills.

"Some (CEOs) will implement two or three of these steps. Some will implement all," said Balaji Ganapathy, head of workforce effectiveness, TCS North America, whose business conducted the analysis of the "100 CEO" report.

The company released a white paper on its mapping analysis of the CEO STEM report, and here's StemConnector's release about selection of the CEOs.

A report earlier this year found that STEM interest is rising among high school students.

In the meantime, Education Week's Education Futures blogger Matthew Lynch writes that, in 2014, some STEM initiatives are losing their funding—but he asks if anyone cares.

And Stephen Krashen, a professor emeritus at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles, questions whether there are enough STEM jobs for all the STEM graduates of the future in his letter to the editor, "STEM Preparation, Career Link Overstated." 

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