The Roundtable works to effect positive change on public policy issues that are most important to supporting state economic vitality and fostering opportunity for all Washingtonians. That work includes sharing news and analyzing policy developments affecting our state.

A 21st century workforce depends on high-quality STEM training

The Opportunity Washington roadmap points out that 80% of unfilled jobs in Washington are linked to a shortage of qualified candidates with STEM skills. Add to that, Washington is among the top states for concentration of STEM jobs, yet according to a 2012 Boston Consulting Group study, approximately 80 percent of unfilled job in Washington are in highly skilled STEM fields.

This gap represents lost opportunities for our students and our state. A stronger commitment to STEM education will enable Washington students to seize promising opportunities and launch confidently into the technology-driven 21st century economy.

The payoff on STEM education is considerable. A one percent increase in the number of high school graduates interested in pursuing a computer science or engineering degree would increase the number of qualified employees by 600 a year. (Source: The Boston Consulting Group)

With STEM education as a path to 21st Century success, lawmakers need to make sure students are getting access to a high quality K-12 STEM education.

This session, we applaud House Representatives Drew Hansen and Chad Magendanz for their leadership on HB 1813, a bill currently moving through the Washington State Legislature that will improve computer science education. Specifically, this bill requires adoption of computer science learning standards and development of a computer science endorsement for educators, which is essential in helping to support and train the teachers who are critical to this field.

We’re not alone. Washington business executives, educators and nonprofit leaders are urging lawmakers to pass and fund this bill.

Better computer science education is one piece of a larger effort to foster student interest and achievement in the STEM disciplines. Join the 94% of Washington voters who believe every child should have access to high quality STEM K-12 education. Spread the word.

(Source: Washington Voters Know STEM = Opportunity)

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