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Columnist: STEM Learning Key to Economic Growth

Economics lessons give students a jumpstart introduction to the real world. One columnist is arguing that STEM learning is a requirement for economic growth in the regions that students live in.

Lisa Riggs is president of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County according to Lancaster Online. Riggs wrote her column for the news outlet to address what STEM learning really means for her county, which applies to the entire nation.

“A diverse group of Lancaster County thought leaders has been talking about STEM literacy and its role in fostering economic development in our county,” said Riggs.

“STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. The emphasis on STEM in education has noticeably increased since the early 2000s, as reports acknowledge the United States is behind other countries in building homegrown STEM talent.

That puts the U.S. at real risk given the realities of a competitive global marketplace for talent.”

Riggs continued to note that her county isn’t the only one who has been discussing STEM learning. She suggested that lasting economic development is in direct correlation with a systematic change to transform longer-term workforce skills, according to her column.

“Not surprisingly, educators are often the main drivers of STEM discussions,” said Riggs.

“While having educators in a lead role makes some sense, a key ingredient for systemic change is much broader community engagement as the outcomes reach far beyond the classroom.”

“Education today has become shaped by mandates, regulations and legislated priorities, directly converse to the rapid pace of innovation occurring in a STEM-driven economy.”

Riggs suggested that the gap between these two concentrations is crucial to a long-term understanding of what children can look forward to in their future, competitive global and national workforce.

“Inventorying our K-12 and higher education programs and activities in STEM, Assessing the depth of STEM occupations and industries in Lancaster County and Scanning the community for various STEM initiatives,” are the important steps Riggs believes comes first in bridging that gap.

An educator's role in children’s understanding of the future workforce will never cease, however, Riggs is calling for the entire community to join educators in the role. Is she right?

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor


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