We have more open jobs in fields related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) than we have people to fill those jobs.
And every day, the gap widens. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 9.2 million jobs in STEM fields by 2020, and the rate of STEM field job growth will outpace overall job growth by nearly double.
So how do we encourage kids to follow their passion into a STEM career?
I've said it before: society gets the best of what it celebrates. It's easy to sustain a passion for STEM when we are in the middle of something astonishing – self-driving cars or a mission to mars. New frontiers and out-of-the-ordinary gets people thinking about the extraordinary.
But absent the extraordinary, we tend to lose sight of STEM in daily life. Yet it's there. It's everywhere.
Those are all a result of STEM.
And they make a difference to us, every day.
We've become so accustomed to interconnectedness and having the world at our fingertips – in a matter of seconds you have an answer to almost any question – that we've lost our amazement. Children are growing up in a time when they don't understand what it takes to make the impossible, possible.
So it's up to us to show them: STEM is in everything.
From the screen you're using to read this blog, to the beverage in your hand and the type of transportation you took to work today.
The equation that STEM equals engineering has happened because that's where we put our focus.
I support a broader view; that we need to help kids understand what they are passionate about, and then help them see the STEM behind it. Farming. Finance. Forestry. They all use STEM.
When students see the connection, that's when their understanding transforms; that's when the equation becomes more than numbers. It becomes life. Why is this important?
Because if we're not inspiring kids to go into STEM fields now, the potential losses in our future are staggering.
Imagine if the child who is destined to find a cure or fly a car or find a way to make sure every single person on this planet has clean water, doesn't pursue STEM because they don't see a future for their passion.
Our company's vision and mission – which include a strong commitment to corporate responsibility – explore what can be done. Helping people around the world – get clean water, affordable energy, safe food, environmentally friendly packaging – is why we do it.
We all take a lot for granted when it comes to the products we use every day. STEM is the foundation of those products – not just in the R&D, engineering and manufacturing of those products, but in the marketing, finance, law and communications that brings those products to consumers every day.
STEM is for everyone. Supporting programs that support STEM growth is good for business, building our future workforce, and for our world.