Wolf Administration Highlights STEM Success, Careers in the Commonwealth

September 26, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Wolf Administration officials, including Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Pedro A. Rivera and Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary Eileen Cipriani, today joined students, employers, lawmakers, partners from Pennsylvania’s five STEM ecosystems, and others to highlight the work Pennsylvania has done with STEM education and careers over the past few years.

“Pennsylvania is home to many innovative and cutting edge businesses and our schools and workforce training programs are adapting to ensure students and workers have the skills for today’s high-demand jobs,” said Governor Wolf.  Today, we are among the nation’s best in STEM education and the number of graduates with STEM-related degrees in fields like robotics, computer science, engineering, and business. This powerful combination is creating a workforce to drive the economy and attract business to Pennsylvania.”

“We know that there are current and future workforce needs in the commonwealth that can provide multiple pathways to success for students and workers alike, and I am proud of the work Pennsylvania has been doing in the realm of STEM education to fill those gaps,” Rivera said. “It takes collaboration, attention, and investment in these programs to facilitate meaningful school-to-workforce partnerships, and I am confident that those partnerships will only foster additional opportunities for Pennsylvanians in years to come.”

Pennsylvania has been named a national leader in STEM education, as:

  • The commonwealth is home to five nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems, four emerging ecosystems, and other informal partnerships in place across the commonwealth;
  • Pennsylvania ranks 4th nationally in the number of STEM graduates and ranks in the top 10 of states for technology and innovation, and is in the top 10 of states for STEM jobs; and
  • Pennsylvania was recently highlighted as a promising state by the White House through its Computer Science for All (CSforAll) work.

“Bolstering the STEM workforce in the commonwealth remains a top priority of the Wolf administration,” Cipriani said.  “Encouraging students to pursue in demand, STEM-related occupations provides them with an opportunity to explore jobs in various science and technology fields that lead to family-sustaining jobs. Additionally, encouraging STEM education and training provides employers with a pool of highly-skilled job seekers prepared to meet future employment needs.”

STEM education in Pennsylvania is built on the foundational belief that all students are capable of STEM literacy; that iteration and reflection are an important part of the STEM learning process; that STEM education transcends the classroom walls, integrating into the community; and that STEM education success depends upon the partnership between educators, students, families, postsecondary providers, legislators, business and industry.

STEM ecosystems encompass schools, businesses, community settings including after-school and summer programs, science centers, libraries and museums, and other environments that provide learning opportunities in STEM fields.

Rivera noted that by 2018, there will be approximately 300,000 Pennsylvania jobs that require STEM skills or content knowledge, and over the next ten years, 71 percent of new jobs will require computer science skills. Recognizing this need, PDE highlighted STEM education in its recently submitted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. The plan provides insight on the work Pennsylvania is already doing and the work that is yet to come.

Pennsylvania has made early and important progress in delivering more resources to schools and classrooms, and fostering collaborative, cross-sector dialogue to support STEM education, work-based learning, career pathways, and college access and completion. Since 2009, the number of graduates from Pennsylvania’s 14 public four-year universities earning degrees in STEM and Health majors (STEM-H) has increased 37 percent. Today, nearly one in four bachelor’s degrees awarded by the State System are STEM-H degrees.

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