Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t)

Steve Lohr:

The national priority in education can be summed up in a four-letter acronym: STEM. And that’s understandable. A country’s proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is vital in generating economic growth, advancing scientific innovation and creating good jobs.

The STEM campaign has been underway for years, championed by policymakers across the ideological spectrum, embraced in schools everywhere and by organizations ranging from the YWCA to the Boy Scouts. By now, the term — first popularized and promoted by the National Science Foundation — is used as a descriptive identifier. “She’s a STEM,” usually meant as a compliment, suggests someone who has a leg up in the college admissions sweepstakes.

Much of the public enthusiasm for STEM education rests on the assumption that these fields are rich in job opportunity. Some are, some aren’t. STEM is an expansive category, spanning many disciplines and occupations, from software engineers and data