‘Alabama’s Roadmap to STEM Success’ presented to Gov. Ivey
Governor Kay Ivey on Friday was presented with a plan to improve science/technology/engineering/math (STEM) education across the Yellowhammer 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 just 2026.
Alabama is a national leader in STEM fields such as aerospace, biotechnology, biomedicine, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. However, with that leadership comes an ever-increasing demand for skilled, qualified candidates to fill industry-related jobs.
Hence the importance of the plan, entitled, “Alabama’s Roadmap to STEM Success.”
“We know that STEM jobs are projected to grow at twice the pace of non-STEM occupations over the next decade,” stated 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,” he added. “As a state, it is crucial that we come together to prepare our students to succeed in these industries.”
Alabama’s Roadmap to STEM Success was developed by the governor’s Advisory Council for Excellence in STEM (ACES), a group of 78 leaders from across the state representing a wide swath of STEM-related fields, including K-12 and undergraduate education, as well as industry and community leaders.
The members were appointed by Ivey in early 2019 and tasked with formulating a plan to positively shape STEM education across the state.
The roadmap 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.
“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 [by] the Governor’s Advisory Council for Excellence in STEM (ACES),” she advised.
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.
Dr. Neil Lamb, vice president for educational outreach at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, chaired the council.
“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,” he explained.
Next steps for the plan involve sharing the recommendations with educational leaders and policy makers, with an eye towards implementation.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn