When we refer to STEAM, it’s not just coding and lab coats. It’s the underpinning of manufacturing, food production, health care, and so much more that frankly, we might take for granted, but surely can’t live without.
What is STEAM education?
STEM education refers to the integrated teaching and learning of the subjects science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM education is usually presented through hands-on and relevant real-world learning experiences.
Why is STEAM important?
STEAM is important because our world depends on it. The economy, our general well-being—it’s all backed by science, technology, engineering, and math.
You might be wondering then, if STEAM is so important, so necessary, then why do we have to keep talking about it? You might be saying, “This is the 25th blog post you’ve written that features “STEAM” in the title…we get it, STEAM is important, so let’s move on.“
And therein lies the rub. The collective “we” haven’t yet “gotten it.”
If we had, then there wouldn’t 2.4 million STEAM jobs projected to go unfilled this year. There wouldn’t be a severe underrepresentation of women in STEAM fields. There wouldn’t be just as much of underrepresentation of minorities. (Here are a few STEAM education stats that tell quite the story.)
There wouldn’t be the need to constantly put STEM in the spotlight or on proving grounds, or in this 26th STEAM-related blog post if these massive gaps didn’t exist.
But they do. And have for years. So here we are.
A lack of STEAM education is to blame, but let me explain.
Why is STEAM education important?
To start, consider this:
We need to first educate in order to educate.
I’m not trying to be cute or clever. But in the process of writing this post, I realized there are two different forms of “STEAM education” we need to be talking about here:
“STEAM education” with regards to students in school, and the teaching of STEAM in the classroom, but also, a STEAM education in terms of you, me, parents, teachers; all of us learning more, and becoming more educated on the importance of STEAM.
Why have I just put your brain in a pretzel? It’s not intentional by any means.
The point I’m trying to make is that if we aren’t educated on the importance of STEAM, we won’t push our kids to become educated in STEM STEAM
So, how about some STEAM education?
I mean, the second type of STEAM education that I was just talking about. The kind where we learn more ourselves about what STEAM is and what it means for the future of our children so that we can then provide a better STEAM education for them.
First, let’s talk about STEAM jobs
STEAM jobs pay very well. The median earning for all non- STEAM jobs in the country is $19.30/hour. The average median hourly wage for STEAM jobs? $38.85. Some quick math says STEM jobs pay $19.55, or about 99% more than all others. Tech giants are going to extremes to pay for this scarce talent.
STEAM jobs are also abundant and growing. The thing about STEAM is that it never sleeps. It won’t reach a point and just stop being important. It won’t stop evolving. But we are here now, and while the figure could still hold true, there is another wrinkle.
Back in 2013, “1.2 million” vacant STEAM jobs felt like a very large number. That figure eventually evolved into the “2.4 million” that we reference now, which is obviously an even greater number.
So why does it keep growing?
Well for one, filling the vacancies is still an issue, but two, it’s because STEAM itself can’t stop, won’t stop growing.
Specifically, the umbrella under which all of these STEAM jobs fall keeps expanding. AI and machine learning? Cybersecurity? Sure there were “things” back in 2013, but they are much bigger things now.
STEAM and innovation go hand in hand. So while this might be the latest STEM job vacancy multiplier, it surely won’t be the last. It’s not out of the question to think that kids will be working jobs we haven’t even dreamed of.
STEAM jobs are interesting. What makes a job interesting? Some would argue money (Did I mention STEAM jobs pay well?), while others would say subject matter (Driverless cars don’t build themselves…wait, or do they?).
Whichever way you paint it, STEM jobs are among the most interesting in the world. I can’t even begin to scratch the surface here, but start researching STEAM jobs, futuristic STEAM jobs, cool STEAM jobs, and you’ll soon be wondering where your day went.
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- August 5, 2020