Why are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculums considered the core technological underpinnings of an advanced society? Why is the strength of the STEM workforce viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself? During the Triple Nine Society’s 11th Annual General Gathering, Jeff Duplantis provided his insight as to the importance of developing future STEM professionals. Mr. Duplantis is a Senior Project Manager with Constantine Engineering and holds a master’s degree in Civil Engineering. He has over 30 years’ experience in civil design, project management, and construction administration.
Mr. Duplantis discussed the importance of outreach amongst K-12 students as part of the development process for generating interest in STEM programs at the collegiate level. He emphasized the importance of STEM within our current society and impacts that careers within STEM core study areas have had on modern day communities. His presentation also touched on the nation’s aging infrastructure which only exacerbates the need for more STEM professionals. As a follow up point, he also noted that careers that support the STEM process, technicians and skilled workers, are also needed and are in high demand.
A significant portion of his presentation focused on the worldwide shortage of STEM professionals. Mr. Duplantis provided a leaking pipeline as a graphic to illustrate the number of students who entire high school relative to those that actually graduate from college and enter into a STEM profession; within the first 10 years out of school nearly 46% of workers with a Bachelor’s degree in STEM have left the field.
During the Q&A afterwards, some attendees expressed some skepticism about whether the problem was a supply shortage or the cyclical nature of employment and offshoring of technical jobs. There was also quite a bit of discussion on how to resolve the issue of maintaining students’ interest in STEM programs along with career opportunities that they may not realize are available to them.