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New York Academy of Sciences Launches New Report On the “Global STEM Paradox”

Report answers question: if we’re graduating record numbers of STEM students, why are STEM jobs still unfilled?

Published January 26, 2015

NEW YORK, January 26, 2015 - Today the New York Academy of Sciences released a new report, "The Global STEM Paradox," in an effort to better define the state of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers worldwide.

The report paints a shocking picture of the state of STEM education across the world: 67% of manufacturing employers in the United States report that they are unable to fill technical jobs for mid-skilled employees, while women represent less than 30% of the world's science researchers. Furthermore, in the United States, minority groups represent only 10% of STEM employees.

The Academy's report demonstrates that while there are sufficient numbers of graduates in STEM, employers still report difficulty in filling STEM jobs - the global STEM paradox. The report identifies areas of concern that contribute to employers' challenges: low numbers of graduates who have the skills needed to match actual job requirements, "brain drain" from developing countries, and the lack of women and people of color in STEM fields. The report also highlights a global disconnect between the developed and developing worlds, with mid and high-skill STEM jobs available in the Global South, but most of the candidates available to fill them living in the West.

"If we want to solve the global STEM paradox, we need to change the way we think about STEM education and careers worldwide, " says Meghan Groome, PhD, Executive Director of Education at the Academy. "It's not enough to churn out a small army of PhDs from our top institutions. We need a new class of skilled technicians, we need home-grown scientists in the developing world, and we need to make women and people of color feel welcome in STEM fields."

To combat the STEM paradox, the New York Academy of Sciences recently launched the Global STEM Alliance of the New York Academy of Sciences (GSA), a worldwide partnership with governments, companies, NGOs, universities and schools to improve student access to STEM mentors and tools. At the UN in September, the GSA announced that it is investing millions of dollars in order to inspire over 1,000,000 children worldwide to become STEM leaders in more than 100 countries by 2020.

At the UN event, members of the Alliance proposed a solution to the STEM paradox: an ecosystem of government policies, strategic business incentives, and innovative Web-based and one-to-one and one-to-many mentoring approaches that, together, create the necessary incentives for students to seek, acquire, and employ STEM skills.

"In order to place STEM graduates in areas where they'll be most effective, we need a global STEM ecosystem that can educate the next generation of STEM leaders to confront the biggest challenges of our time-climate change, malnutrition, global epidemics-through cross-generational, transnational collaboration," says Groome.

The GSA launched with several Founding Partners: ARM, Cisco, and the Global Sustainability Foundation, as well as a group of Founding Nations and Regions, including Barcelona, Benin, Croatia, Malaysia, New York State, Rwanda, and the United States.

"We're proud to have the support of esteemed dignitaries and business leaders on board with the Global STEM Alliance," says Celina Morgan-Standard, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, Global STEM Alliance. "With a ready and willing base of partners dedicated to building STEM skills and supporting global economic development, I have no doubt we can achieve our goals and solve the STEM paradox."


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