STEM and Early Childhood – When Skills Take Root

Posted by ReadyNation on June 6, 2016

Is preschool the answer to increasing the future supply of scientists and engineers? A new report from Mission: Readiness and ReadyNation titled “STEM and Early Childhood – When Skills Take Root” suggests that there is a growing body of research that indicates that interest in science, technology, engineering and math fields takes root as early as preschool and kindergarten.

According to the report, nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania 8th graders aren’t proficient in math and science, and more than a quarter of students entering the PA State System of Higher Education require remedial education in math and English. As a result, employers – both in the private sector and the military – are struggling to find the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skilled workforce they need.

Here are some staggering statistics about Pennsylvania from the report that you can share with friends, neighbors and colleagues:

  • 170,000+ positions will not be filled with qualified in-state employees who have the educational credentials their employers seek.
  • 52% of employers have difficulty hiring people with adequate skills, training or education.
  • 56% of employers expect the recruiting problem to continue to get worse.
  • $188.9 million+ per year on retraining employees.
  • 72% of 17- to 24-year-olds are not eligible for military service due to poor education, poor health/fitness and/or criminal activity or substance abuse.
  • 2/3 of 8th graders are not proficient in math and science.
  • 28% of students entering state system universities enrolled in remedial courses. The rate for low-income students is 40%.
  • $153 million per year spent on remedial education at colleges and universities.

If America does not produce enough young people who can meet the STEM needs of both the private sector and military, both our economy and our national security could suffer. Pennsylvania policymakers can help build the STEM pipeline for the future by investing in broader access to high-quality pre-k today.

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