Recruiting Blog

MAJOR ROLE FOR GOVERNMENT: IMPROVING STEM Education, Training and Retraining!

As I shared in my last article government is NOT the best solution for jobs creation or wage growth. Instead, the legislative process usually produces major impediments, through both significantly increased taxes and regulations, which obstruct the historically proven catalyst for jobs and wages growth, entrepreneurs.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fieldsHowever, there is a major role government can play in influencing long-term jobs, wages and economic growth. As I wrote previously at: a) R&D Yields Many Ancillary Societal Benefits! and b) 3-D Printing: A Major R&D Tool local, state and federal government should work together with industry to significantly improve our nation’s educational, training and retraining programs especially in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. This will mean a lot more skilled, innovative and highly paid workers now and in the future.

One trend that exemplifies this is the technology industry’s latest recruiting push: focusing executive recruitment teams on uncovering software prodigies as young as 13 to create apps for their smartphones! R&D, scientific, engineering, technical, and IT leaders such as Apple and Google are concentrating both their internal engineering recruiting efforts and their external technical recruiting teams on better ways to unearth young software geniuses to write code for their newest mobile-operating systems. For example, Apple in 2012 both: a) lowered the minimum age to attend its developer conference from 18 to 13 and b) made younger teens eligible for scholarships to cover the $1600 cost of registration. As a result, minors claimed nearly 50% of Apple’s awarded 200 scholarships at last year’s conference, where they introduced their new, Swift programming language that streamlines the app-making process.

Google I/O developer conferenceGoogle also started its own youth program at its Google I/O developer conference last June. It hosted 200 children between the ages of 11 and 15 for a half-day, including introducing them to some basic tools used by its developers.

But how does an emphasis on recruiting young teens benefit all workers especially older, displaced ones? Though many experts acknowledge that younger kids have major learning advantages (e.g. brain plasticity, which allows them to more quickly absorb new concepts) over older workers, this trend proves the need for the proper foundation in STEM skills. This is something all workers can benefit from and demonstrates the role government can play in improving our STEM educational, training and retraining programs.

Unfortunately, our executive recruitment firm is regularly contacted by older workers that have been displaced by major layoffs. Many times these same companies, which are laying off workers at one slowing division, are instructing their management recruiters to ramp up recruiting at other growing divisions. This is an area where government can step in to play a major role. It can significantly increase funding for successful programs that can quickly teach displaced workers needed STEM skills for being productive in growing fields.

Whether your bias is towards the public educational structure or vouchers, you probably agree that our current educational, training and retraining systems are not effective. As was reported at America’s students now rank a) 31st in math b) 24th in science and c) 21st in reading versus the rest of the world! Therefore, as I wrote at better STEM educational, training and retraining methods need to be discovered because these are at the core of most high paying technology jobs. The ability to quickly retrain displaced workers into learning new and desired STEM skills will also mean a lot higher wages. Just because someone is older doesn’t mean that they cannot continue to be innovative and productive. The key is developing better STEM educational, training and retraining programs for our workers. This is an area where government can be of major assistance.


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