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Update from Austin on the STEM Solutions Conference

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By Justin Driscoll, Director, STEM Talent Acquisition

Greetings from Austin TX!  I have the privilege of attending the national STEM Solutions Conference hosted by U.S. News and World Report this week.

One of the most interesting sessions I have attended so far is on Meetings Industry Talent Needs.  The panel discussion was based on a report published by the University of Phoenix, STEM Connector and U.S. News and World Report.  Here are the findings from the executive summery of that report.

Below are a few suggestions that education and industry can focus on to help solve the STEM workforce shortage.

From an educational perspective, companies are focusing their efforts on:

  • Cultivate the future workforce by attracting K-12 students to STEM fields via mentorships, internships, and after school programs.
  • Working with postsecondary institution to develop the STEM competences of near-term hires, future graduates, and career changers.
  • Partnering with certification bodies to ensure educational programs deliver up-to-date skills training for current and incoming workers.
  • Funding worker certifications and advanced education.

From a corporate perspective, employers are:

  • Coordinating internal company initiatives to build and sustain a stem capable workforce.
  • Prioritizing certification training and continuous learning.
  • Applying metrics to determine the effectiveness of talent development spending and workforce recruitment partners, and
  • Hiring and cultivating STEM talent during lean times to minimize worker shortages and ensure a sufficient workforce when growth resumes.

The report also focused on how K-12, post secondary and industry can cultivate the next generation of STEM workers:

  • Enhance relations with community colleges, four-year universities, graduate programs, and other talent development entities.
  • Work more closely with partners responsible for updating the skills of the current workforce and professional organizations or government agencies to ensure that certifications match current industry needs.
  • Address the diversion of capable students from STEM career tracks by creating pathways from grade school to graduate school.
  • Increase workforce diversity by expanding outreach efforts to women, Hispanics, and African Americans.
  • Use metrics more assertively to evaluate the effectiveness of talent development partners, corporate funding and other STEM initiative spending.

Stay tuned for more updates from the STEM Solutions Conference in Austin.

For more bytes of the Pittsburgh region’s tech sector visit


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