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December 05, 2023 | Tom Ballard

New report released on STEM education and Tennessee

Phase 1 of the series analyzes the STEM-based professions in Tennessee, and the education system’s preparedness to meet the increase in demand.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related work is the fastest-growing economic sector in the U.S., and when Tennessee’s STEM students are provided with opportunity and investment, they outperform their peers. This is one of the core findings of BioTN’s new and comprehensive “STEM Assessment Report.”

Phase 1 of that report, released last week, analyzes the STEM-based professions in Tennessee, and the education system’s preparedness to meet the increase in demand for STEM-focused workers to fill these high-wage positions. STEM-related jobs currently account for about 70 percent of the U.S. workforce. Careers in STEM are the primary driver of economic advancement in the U.S. and key to building a better economy for Tennesseans.

“Ensuring there are enough qualified STEM workers, as well as better participation from under-represented groups, will take a strategic focus on K-12 STEM education and increased access to college preparatory programs that promote STEM careers,” said Dr. Samuel Lynch, Chairman and Founder of BioTN, the non-profit organization releasing the report.

There is both good news as well as a cautionary note: When Tennessee invests in STEM programs, such as the $500 million Race to the Top initiative, students in the Volunteer State outperform their peers from other states. But maintaining those advances requires purposeful and continued focus and investment. Furthermore, while Tennessee students’ rank in math and science has improved over the last decade as compared to other students across the country, it is largely a function of the performance of Tennessee students maintaining flat, but steady achievement scores, while the average scores of students in other states have declined.


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