STEM Skills Vital to Preparing Students for Emerging Jobs

Stressing that Pennsylvania is a national leader in STEM education because of its dedicated teachers, Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Deputy Secretary Matthew Stem today welcomed 80 public, private, parochial and charter school educators to the GSK Empowering STEM Conference at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

“We’re a national leader in STEM education with the fifth highest number of STEM graduates in the United States, and just last week our 6th nationally recognized STEM ecosystem was announced,” said Stem, who serves as the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. “However, some of the most critical steps in advancing STEM are made in our classrooms, by providing students with valuable STEM opportunities, where they not only learn, but where an engaged and highly trained educator may spur a lifelong interest.”

The GSK Empowering STEM conference is an annual one-day event that brings together educators to engage in presentations, panel discussions, workshops and networking. It is produced by the Philadelphia Education Fund’s McKinney Center for STEM Education and sponsored by GSK.

Deputy Secretary Stem said Pennsylvania will create 300,000 new jobs by 2026 and noted the fastest growing occupations are in health care, computer science and in STEM.

“We see examples every day of how the STEM fields are impacting our lives, from advancements in vehicles and public transit, to medical breakthroughs and improvements in manufacturing,” he said. “Across Pennsylvania, schools are preparing students for jobs that haven’t been created yet, and STEM is driving that job creation.”

Pennsylvania has been a leader in STEM education including Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmartOpens In A New Window initiative, a groundbreaking approach to prepare students and workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow through STEM and computer science education, apprenticeship and job training. Through PAsmart grants, the administration has awarded nearly $20 million to bolster STEM and computer science in schools and nearly $10 million to expand apprenticeships and job training.

This year, the governor is proposing an additional $10 million for PAsmart to expand career and technical education for adults as well as job training programs at companies to enhance the skills of Pennsylvania workers.

Next month, 26 high schools from across the Commonwealth will compete in the finals of the fifth annual Governor’s STEM CompetitionOpens In A New Window, scheduled for May 9-10 at the Pennsylvania State Systems of Higher Education’s Dixon Center.