What Makes A Job A STEM Job?

A new study from the Brookings Institution finds that jobs tied to science, technology, engineering or mathematics — or STEM fields — make up a far larger proportion of the economy than previously believed.

 

Jobs tied to STEM fields are widely viewed as a major driver for economic growth. The federal government now spends more than $4 billion a year on education in these fields. The vast majority of this goes to support occupations requiring bachelor’s or more-advanced degrees. By contrast, community colleges receive little if any such aid.

Brookings researcher Jonathan Rothwell says this ignores a huge number of STEM jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree.

“It’s a much, much more diverse group of occupations. It includes installation, maintenance, repair workers. It includes construction and extraction workers, in particular. And many of these jobs, in fact 50% of STEM jobs, while still requiring a very high level of knowledge, do not require a bachelor’s degree. Typically, they require some sort of post-secondary education, either a certificate or an associate’s degree.”

The report finds Houston has the sixth-greatest concentration of STEM jobs of any U.S. metro area.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...