Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs are prevalent today in most Houston area school districts and colleges.
The primary goal of STEM programs is to increase the number of students who consider a career in a STEM-related field and to improve college readiness.
Students pursuing advanced degrees and/or certifications are rewarded with higher wages and better chances for employment across a broad spectrum of possibilities. Ninety-three out of 100 STEM occupations had wages significantly above the national average wage for all occupations of $48,320.
The school districts in the Texas 288 South region have integrated STEM teaching principals in K-12 grade. Local businesses and industries are also taking an active part in STEM educational programs to strengthen the STEM skills of students, while introducing a variety of career choices. Stephen F. Austin Elementary School in the Brazosport ISD is a dedicated STEM campus for grades K-6.
Dow Chemical Company in Lake Jackson is a world leader in STEM education. Dow works closely with local schools, colleges, government and other industries in support of STEM education and careers. The architectural, engineering, and related services industry is projected to grow by 8.0 percent from 2014 to 2024.
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in STEM occupations grew by 10.5 percent, or 817,260 jobs, between May 2009 and May 2015, compared with 5.2 percent net growth in non-STEM occupations. The national average wage for all STEM occupations was $87,570, nearly double the national average wage for non-STEM occupations ($45,700).
Petroleum Engineers was the highest paid STEM occupation, with an annual mean wage of $149,590, over $100,000 higher than the national average across all occupations. Physicists ($118,500) was also among the highest paid STEM occupations.
STEM is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with hands-on, problem-based learning. Advocates of integrated approaches to STEM education believe teaching STEM in a more connected manner, especially in the context of real-world issues, can make STEM subjects more relevant to students and teachers. Some STEM educational programs include art. Proponents of STEAM see art as a way of offering more diverse learning opportunities, and better access to STEM programs for all types of learners.