On Tuesday, August 13, DoDLive and the U.S. Army will host a blogger’s roundtable to discuss what the Army is doing to address the national Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) challenge and encourage minorities to obtain degrees and pursue careers in STEM.
Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, commander U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and top Army engineer, is available to discuss his personal experience as a STEM graduate and minority as well as his passion to inspire young students, specifically underrepresented groups, to pursue STEM degrees.
The STEM Challenge
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields are growing rapidly. The U.S. expects 2.8 million STEM job openings by 2020 based on growth and retirements. However, the U.S. is not producing enough STEM-capable students to keep up with the demand. Compounding the issue is the impending retirement of baby boomers and lack of accessibility to STEM careers by women, African Americans and Latinos—women account for 10 out of every 100 STEM degrees and African Americans and Latinos account for only 5 out of 100 STEM degrees.
Addressing the Challenge
As the world’s largest public engineering firm, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is teaming with others to strengthen STEM-related programs through a three-prong STEM Strategy:
• Recruiting, Developing and Retaining STEM Professionals: Through formal partnerships with institutions including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, minority-serving institutions and ROTC, USACE offers more than 1,000 student internships per year at its U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, labs, divisions and districts across the country.
• Collaboration: USACE STEM leaders are transferring knowledge to educators through teacher externships. The information is used to develop STEM curricula for students. In addition, numerous USACE professionals are volunteering their time as mentors, competition judges, and STEM camp volunteers.
• Leveraging Scientists and Engineers: Through the Army’s first-ever partnership with Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), USACE is leveraging their engineers and scientists to support military families by engaging students with real-life, USACE-related STEM projects in DoDEA classrooms around the world. These projects will become part of the teacher’s curriculum for math, science and technology with economics woven throughout, as opposed to being solely an after-school activity.
Why STEM Matters
A workforce with robust STEM capabilities is critical to the success of U.S. military missions. The missions, including contingency operations, warfighter support, civil works and humanitarian assistance, depend heavily on advancements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.