SIA Welcomes White House Plan to Strengthen STEM Education

Thursday, Dec 06, 2018, 4:51pm
by Harry Clapsis, Global Policy Fellow

Earlier this week, the National Science and Technology Council released the Trump Administration’s plan to improve STEM education in the United States. The plan lays out three aspirational goals: (1) building a strong foundation for STEM literacy by ensuring every American has the opportunity to master basic STEM concepts; (2) increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM; and (3) preparing the STEM workforce of the future by encouraging students to pursue STEM careers. SIA welcomes the Administration’s efforts to ensure U.S. semiconductor firms can recruit and retain top science and engineering talent.

The plan lays out a variety of proposals that would expand Americans’ access to high-quality STEM education, while ensuring the U.S. is a global leader in STEM literacy, innovation, and employment. The strategy calls for the strengthening of existing relationships and the development of new connections between educational institutions, employers, and their communities, something the semiconductor industry has prioritized for quite some time. The plan notes that STEM learning can be more meaningful and inspiring to students when it focuses on real-world problems and challenges that require initiative and creativity. The strategy also calls for the building of computational literacy through solving complex problems with data at an early age, expanding the use of digital platforms for teaching and learning, and offering more simulation-based activities or virtual reality experiences, among other methods.

SIA has long supported strengthening America’s technology workforce. Earlier this year, SIA convened a roundtable with industry, various federal agencies, and academics to discuss the workforce needs of the semiconductor industry. We also filed comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on this topic. The comments and roundtable emphasized the importance of a workforce proficient in STEM fields for the U.S. semiconductor industry, which accounts for well over a million combined direct and indirect jobs. If the industry is to retain its innovation edge, semiconductor firms need access to the best and brightest scientists and engineers. Studies have shown students who do not get interested in STEM by middle school are much less likely to choose a STEM education path and career.

The Administration is right to place a focus on promoting high-quality STEM education at the K-12 level and above. We look forward to working with the White House to improve STEM education in America and to develop the high-tech workforce of the future.