MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gov. Kay Ivey this week was presented with a plan to improve STEM education across the state and create a workforce pipeline critical to filling the more than 850,000 STEM-related occupations that will be needed in the state by 2026. Alabama is a national leader in STEM fields such as aerospace, biotechnology, biomedicine, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. But companies struggle to fill those jobs with qualified candidates.
“Academically, Alabama’s students have fallen behind in math and science proficiency and significant educator shortages make it difficult to recruit, train and retain well qualified educators equipped in the methods of a modern STEM classroom,” said Ivey. “This is why I am encouraged by the recommendations included in Alabama’s Roadmap to STEM Success, developed the Governor’s Advisory Council for Excellence in STEM (ACES).”
Alabama’s Roadmap to STEM Success was developed by ACES, a group of 78 leaders from across the state representing a wide swath of STEM related fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), including K-12 and undergraduate education, as well as industry and community leaders. The members were appointed by Governor Ivey in early 2019 and tasked with formulating a plan to positively shape STEM education across the state.
The Roadmap to STEM Success outlines a series of recommendations aimed at creating a pathway that will provide all Alabama learners with access to high quality STEM educational programming as well as foundational opportunities for entry into the STEM workforce.
“We know that STEM jobs are projected to grow at twice the pace of non-STEM occupations over the next decade,” said Josh Laney, Director of the newly established Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, who worked on the Roadmap. “Thirty-four of Alabama’s 40 in-demand occupations require secondary and postsecondary education in areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a state, it is crucial that we come together to prepare our students to succeed in these industries.”
Over a six-month period, ACES developed 24 recommendations across six priority areas, including STEM Exploration and Discovery, Numeracy and STEM Fluency, Pre-Service Educator Preparation, In-Service Educator Development, Career Pathways and STEM Coordination Across Alabama.
“We felt it was important to develop a path that weaves the individual initiatives, resources and expertise already in place across the state into a coordinated STEM education network that will provide a workforce pipeline essential to the future of Alabama’s economy,” said Dr. Neil Lamb, vice president for educational outreach at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama, who chaired the Council.
The Roadmap to STEM Success continues to build on the governor’s commitment to strengthening Alabama’s educational opportunities and grow tomorrow’s knowledge-based economy.
Next steps for the Roadmap involve sharing the recommendations with educational leaders and policy makers, with an eye towards implementation.
The full Roadmap to Stem Success can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/2NwhCUd.