How High-Quality Early Learning Builds a STEM Pipeline
How a path to stronger financial and information technology sectors will be paved through a commitment to high-quality early learning.
The United States is not currently producing the STEM workforce it will need to remain globally competitive
The financial services and technology industries are projected to have the most robust growth of any American industry, with an estimate ten million openings between 2010 and 2020. What’s more, over half of that figure will be newly created positions. Yet, despite this employment opportunity windfall, our workforce isn’t prepared to take advantage: While 94 percent of STEM jobs will require postsecondary education by 2020, only 60 percent of working-age adults current possess that level of education.
To build the STEM workforce of tomorrow, we must invest today—in our youngest learners
The road to postsecondary education begins during the first five years of life, a unique period of brain growth. It is imperative to take advantage of this rapid brain development by providing young children with access to high-quality early learning programs, including early math, reading, and science experiences that help get students “kindergarten-ready” and lay a foundation for STEM education. Research shows that high-quality early childhood education can help close achievement gaps, especially for at-risk populations, as well as build the skills students will need to be successful later in their academic careers and beyond. That’s why investing in these programs is so important to building our future workforce.
The focus on quality early education before kindergarten has a measurable positive impact on children’s future success in school and life. If we hesitate to make the investment in early education, by the time at-risk children reach third and fourth grade, they often can’t do math or read at grade level. Bridging the achievement gap is more difficult and expensive once it is created.”