Jackney Prioly Joseph (centro), directora de Iniciativas de Preparación Profesional en la Alianza Empresarial para la Educación de Massachusetts, habla sobre las credenciales reconocidas de la industria durante el panel. Los escuchan (de izquierda a derecha) el presidente y director ejecutivo del Centro de Ciencias de la Vida de Massachusetts, Travis McCready; el superintendente de las escuelas de Burlington, Eric Conti; Carolina Alarco, fundadora de BioStrategy Advisors LLC; y el Secretario de Educación James Peyser.
El aprendizaje práctico, las asociaciones con empleadores y la creación de vías de desarrollo de habilidades se encuentran entre las acciones más importantes que el estado puede tomar para abordar la brecha de diversidad en las ocupaciones STEM, dijeron los panelistas en un evento de la Semana STEM de Massachusetts el 24 de octubre organizado por La Fundación Boston. Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta provided a brief overview of Commonwealth Corporation’s Informe de investigación "Mírate a ti mismo en STEM", which laid out workforce data that illustrates the lagging diversity in STEM jobs. For instance, gender representation in Massachusetts STEM jobs is just about equal—49.5% women, 50.5% men—but within the four occupational categories, there are major differences. Women hold 77% of health care practitioner & technician jobs, but only 26% of computer & mathematical jobs and 15% of architecture & engineering jobs. Also, fewer women are receiving engineering or computing degrees and even fewer are pursuing jobs in those fields after attaining such a degree. Acosta called the figures around women obtaining those degrees and not going into those fields “stunning.” She recently visited a high school junior classroom where students were working on a robotics experiment. “I looked around the room … there was not one girl in that class. Something’s wrong with that,” Acosta said. “Obviously something is happening to discourage girls from continuing on this path.” When it comes to race and ethnic representation, 76% of STEM workers in Massachusetts are white, close to the overall state job average of 77%, but like the data around gender, this again masks other differences. Hispanic/Latinx are underrepresented in all STEM occupations, black/African Americans are underrepresented in non-health care occupations, and Asians are overrepresented in the non-health care occupations. As with women when looking at specific STEM degree majors, black/African Americans and Hispanic/Latinx workers tend to have smaller shares of STEM-related degrees and even when they have such degrees, they are less likely to have related STEM jobs. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito stressed in her opening remarks that with Massachusetts’ innovation economy continuing to grow, and with it the number of STEM-related job openings, it is critical to have enough skilled people to fill those jobs. Meeting that demand means accelerating the talent pipeline and diversifying the workforce in the innovation economy. Accelerating the talent pipeline is a combination of three C’s, Polito said: classroom, curriculum and connections. “When I was growing up it was more about, ‘here’s the content, I’m going to memorize it and take a test,” she said. “Applied learning, hands-on learning is clearly the best approach to helping kids develop skills content-wise, but also around problem solving and critical thinking. And while we transform the classroom with our capital investments, bringing in CNC machines and 3D printers, we need to think about how to get students into the workplace. That’s what we hear from employers everywhere we go.” Secretary of Education James Peyser said on the panel that the state’s Consejo Asesor STEM busca proporcionar habilidades y experiencias fundamentales a todos los estudiantes de K-12, en particular en torno al aprendizaje aplicado, para desarrollar caminos para los estudiantes y fomentar las asociaciones con los empleadores. Citó el progreso de Massachusetts en el desarrollo de vías tempranas a través de inversiones a través de Subvenciones de capital de habilidades in vocational schools, community colleges, and occupational training programs. “At some level, the academic community can take us only so far,” Peyser said. “We need to have that connection to the employers who can provide those work-based learning experiences, and then also show students the way to the future as to what their own possibilities can be. These pathways are not just pathways to further study, but toward their career.”
Resumen de investigación "Mírate a ti mismo en STEM" para la Semana STEM de Massachusetts 2019.
Esos caminos tampoco siempre terminan con la obtención de un título avanzado. los Resumen de investigación Mírate a ti mismo en STEM points out that one out of five STEM jobs only require a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree. Travis McCready, president and CEO of the Centro de Ciencias de la Vida de Massachusetts, said a person can get an associate’s degree and work at one of the many growing biomanufacturing plants in Massachusetts with a starting wage of $80,000 a year. Or, someone could work at the Depuy Synthes manufacturing plant in Raynham that manufactures 85% of the artificial knee systems in North America. “The skill set necessary [for that work] is not a PhD,” McCready said. “We spend a lot of time trying to educate you about the depth and breadth of opportunity in this ecosystem. … Some of this we’ll lay at the feet of our students, but we need to be smarter about what this range of opportunity is so we can continue to coach and encourage our kids.” Credenciales reconocidas en la industria son una herramienta que empodera a los jóvenes para seguir una carrera en STEM sin necesariamente requerir un título avanzado, según Jackney Prioly Joseph, director de Career Readiness Initiatives en la Alianza empresarial de Massachusetts para la educación. Those credentials signify the accumulation of technical skills and knowledge useful to employers, and they’re “globally portable,” Prioly Joseph said. “Currently, we have top notch vocational schools in Mass. What we can do is learn from them,” she said. “Employers look to them to provide them with the employees who have the right skills. If we can expand that to more students in the Commonwealth, we’d see a lot more students being prepared for these jobs.” It’s also important to help women, people of color and others underrepresented in STEM continue along career pathways once they enter the field, according to Carolina Alarco, founder and principal of BioStrategy Advisors LLC and a co-founder of Latinos in Bio. Alarco cited a Massachusetts Biotechnology Council report on gender in the workplace that said in entry-level positions, biotechnology and life sciences have a generally even split between men and women. However, at the level of function head and beyond, including C-level and board positions, there is a huge disparity, with 75 percent of the C-level positions in life sciences and 85 percent of the board positions filled by men. It requires a change of culture within companies and training on equal treatment, she said. “I think that basically reflects a lot of what kids decide to study or not. When they decide to pick a career, they also look at the industry and workplace, and if that particular career is not welcoming to women, they’re going to know that and not want to go into studying for a STEM career,” Alarco said. “I think we can get women who have been successful in STEM careers come to high schools and to encourage other women to pursue STEM careers.” Hearkening back to the Lieutenant Governor’s remarks on changing the classroom dynamic and evolving curriculum, Burlington Schools Superintendent Eric Conti said that his district is focusing on computational, algorithmic thinking because “we believe it’s the new literacy.” He pointed out that the science pathway of biology, chemistry and then physics introduced in 1890 still exists in schools today, and those topics are only in that order because it was alphabetical. “It’s not that all these students are new computer scientists, per se,” Conti said. “We want every citizen to be a healthy, learned and moral citizen, and that is going to need some knowledge in computer science because it’s going to impact their lives. Our students need to not only learn how to use the devices … they need to know how the devices work.”