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Encouraging STEM Education and Workforce Development

A few weeks ago, the White House released a memo urging federal agencies to pair investments in STEM education and workforce development with their research and development initiatives. At ACT, we read this as an affirmation of the work we have been doing to promote the very same things. 

The memo urges the following practices, which ACT strongly supports to enable both individuals and society as a whole to find success in tomorrow’s economy:

  • “[E]xperiential learning, such as apprenticeships, internships, job-shadows, and other employer-educator partnerships,” a key recommendation in the 2018 ACT Career and Technical Education Policy Platform. CTE is most valuable when students see its connection to the real world, and work-based learning allows students to stay engaged with what they’re learning by understanding how it is relevant to their future jobs.
  • “[I]nitiatives that reskill Americans for the jobs of today and the future,” which is recommended in the 2018 ACT Workforce Development Policy Platform. ACT believes strongly that when workers possess essential foundational skills they have a base from which to upskill and/or reskill as needed due to shifting economic and technological developments.

    ACT’s commitment in this area will be on full display at the ACT Workforce Summit this coming October. This annual summit brings together workforce professionals, economic developers, educators, industry associations, employers, and ACT Work Ready Communities to strengthen the nation’s employment base.
  • “Education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics . . . integrated into instruction through application to real world challenges.” ACT, as the only major college admissions test provider to include a science assessment—which enables a STEM Benchmark on the ACT test to indicate students’ readiness for the introductory college-level coursework they will need to pursue a STEM major—is uniquely placed to provide data and recommendations on the state of STEM education across the country.

    Because attainment of the ACT STEM College Readiness Benchmark has remained flat nationally over the past few years, ACT’s 2017 STEM report focused on the importance of high-quality STEM education and the improvements to STEM education that must be made to enable all children to graduate high school ready to succeed in a STEM career. Chief among the report’s recommendations is to elevate the STEM teaching profession to attract the most talented and capable professionals through higher pay, more investment in education, and other incentives.
  • “Agencies should work to ensure the STEM workforce includes all Americans, including those from urban and rural areas as well as underrepresented groups,” another key recommendation from the 2017 ACT STEM report. Investment in STEM, particularly for underserved students, is an investment in the nation’s future.

ACT urges the federal agencies, as well as governments, schools, and other organizations across the country, to continue prioritizing STEM education and workforce development. Students need to be equipped for the jobs and economy of today and tomorrow, and everyone must do their part to advance the goal of helping all people achieve education and workplace success.

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About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career.