More than half of today’s adult workers (62 percent) say they were never exposed to STEM-related studies and career possibilities in elementary school, according to a survey from littleBits and YouGov.
The findings support other research indicating that early exposure to STEM courses helps students stick with these studies even as the material becomes more challenging in high school and college.
U.S. workers with 1-2 years of STEM workforce experience say they had the highest exposure to STEM concepts in elementary school–46 percent of adults in this group experienced a science- or math-related track in school, and 53 percent of this group are working in a job that either entirely or heavily involves STEM.
Much research points to the worrisome prediction that the U.S. will not have produced enough highly-skilled workers to fill STEM jobs in the next few years. Those worries are compounded by the fact that many STEM jobs in the future don’t exist today–the Department of Labor estimates 65 percent of today’s students will find themselves in such jobs. Students will need an array of STEM skills to tackle those positions.
Two out of 5 Americans believe the STEM worker shortage is at crisis levels, according to results from the fourth annual STEM survey by Emerson, released in August.