Our world is ever-changing. A once booming industrial economy has evolved into one driven by science and technology with no signs of slowing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s projected that careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will increase by 9 million between 2012 and 2022.
In recent years, educators and employers have seen the arts emerge as an integral piece of the educational puzzle, creating STEAM education. A study by the University of Florida showed that, on average, students who participated in the arts four years in high school scored 98 points higher on their SATs than those who only participated for half a year or less.
Advancements in our society give today’s youth endless opportunities. These are but a few of the benefits associated with a STEAM education:
- They prepare for the future. It is projected that there will be a need for nearly 1 million more STEM professionals than the U.S. will produce at its current rate. With the STEM workforce making up five to 20 percent of the workforce, future opportunities are ripe for young people who pursue a career in STEM jobs such as computer programming and mechanical engineering.
- It encourages creativity. STEM subjects can be a challenge for young people, but there are skills acquired with participation in arts education. Critical thinking, problem-solving, risk-taking and inquisitiveness are characteristics that allow for success in a STEM career.
- It offers opportunities for diversity. STEM careers are in need of greater representation of women and minorities. A 2013 report by the S. Census Bureau states that, while women make up 26 percent of the STEM workforce, African Americans and Hispanics account for six and seven percent (respectively). Employers value the variety of thought and process that comes along with diversity in the workplace to promote competitiveness and success.
Photo Credit: Phil Roeder