STEM Programs are Vital for National Security and Business
Investing in STEM and early childhood can help build skilled military and civilian workforces
Nationwide, less than a quarter of youth are eligible to serve in the military, and may be less prepared to join the workforce. Increasing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, beginning with early childhood education (ECE), can help ensure that kids are ready for any career they choose.
Studies have shown that young children are receptive to learning logic and math, and early math skills are the strongest predictor of academic success in the future. While STEM is important for success in school, it can also lead to success later in life. Many employers seek qualified candidates for jobs in technology-focused fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, between 2018 and 2028, the number of STEM-related jobs will increase by nearly 9 percent (nearly 11 million positions). Comparatively, non-STEM roles are expected to grow by only 5 percent.
Meeting the demands for a STEM workforce is also critical for preserving our national security. Maintaining a competitive advantage over adversaries requires a STEM-skilled uniformed military and civilian workforce capable of developing leading-edge technologies such as long-range strike capabilities, hypersonics, and artificial intelligence.
Without enough young people who can meet the STEM needs of both the private sector and the military, our economy and our national security could suffer. Policymakers can help develop a skilled workforce for the future by investing in access to high-quality STEM programs for children in ECE today.